Ontario Training Thousands of New Long-Term Care Staff

$100 million investment will provide 32,000 nursing and personal support worker students with hands-on training

January 31, 2024

STRATFORD — The Ontario government is investing more than $100 million in two programs that will train more than 32,000 new personal support workers (PSWs) and nurses in long-term care over the next three years. The investments are part of the government’s Your Health plan to recruit and retain tens of thousands of long-term care staff over the coming years.

“Our government is fixing long-term care by training, hiring and retaining thousands of health care workers to provide high-quality care for residents,” said Stan Cho, Minister of Long-Term Care. “We’re investing in programs that are building a pipeline of talent for the future and giving them more hands-on clinical training so our long-term care residents get the high-quality care they deserve.”

Ontario is investing $94.5 million over three years to extend the Preceptor Resource and Education Program for Long-Term Care (PREP LTC). Since its launch in 2021, the program has already helped 500 long-term care homes provide clinical placements for over 17,000 nursing and personal support worker students. With the new investment, the program now aims to train more than 3,000 new preceptors and support 31,000 new clinical placements by 2027.

Clinical placements are key to providing nursing and personal support worker students with hands-on experience on-site in long-term care homes under the supervision of preceptors — experienced staff who are trained for this role. Positive clinical placement experiences drive recruitment, as students often take jobs in the homes where they complete their placements. Meanwhile, becoming a preceptor gives existing long-term care staff the opportunity for career development and growth.

Ontario is also investing nearly $11 million over three years to expand Living Classrooms, a program that helps students train to become PSWs on-site in local long-term care homes. With this investment, the program will double the number of living classrooms from 20 to 40, which will support the training of up to 1,300 new personal support workers by 2026.

Unlike traditional PSW training programs, where students start with a classroom education and then move on to clinical placements, living classrooms integrate education into a long-term care home. Students alternate between in-class learning — delivered in the home or nearby — and applying what they learn as they work with residents within the home. The program is especially beneficial to rural, remote and northern regions, as homes can grow their own staff and students can train without having to leave their communities.

The government is fixing long-term care to ensure Ontario’s seniors get the quality of care and quality of life they need and deserve. The plan is built on four pillars: staffing and care; quality and enforcement; building modern, safe and comfortable homes; and connecting seniors with faster, more convenient access to the services they need.