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The term personal support worker (PSW) is used almost exclusively within the Canadian province of Ontario. Why is that so?

Back in 1997 the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education and Training combined to create new program standards for workers that "provide personal care and support to people living at home and in long-term care facilities."

At the beginning of the 1997 school year a number of previous courses were combined into and governed under what is now today known as the "personal support worker training outcomes and module outlines standards."

Previously training for what are now considered personal support worker jobs feel under the umbrella of a number of courses. These courses consisted of home support worker levels I, II, and III training, along with a Health Care Aid course and finally Personal Attendant courses. Students enrolled in these courses in September and prior years were allowed to continue their studies, as the new standard applied to only new courses being offered from January 1st 1997 and on.

That takes care of the dry portion. So how come other provinces aren't jumping on the personal support guidelines bandwagon?

Since the personal support worker program is governed by the province of Ontario the degree has more value within Ontario than outside of it. Other provinces have different guidelines, training and rules. In Manitoba for example the tasks that an Ontario PSW carries out are handled by a "Health Care Aid". The system is less regulated in Manitoba. A student may acquire a health care aid certificate from certain employers while on the job at their facility. This makes it simpler to obtain a degree and in turn forces down the average wage.

According to research carried out by Payscale Ontario support worker pay is $14.75 per hour on average. In other "lightly" regulated provinces average pay is approximately three dollars per hour lower, with New Brunswick ($11.25), Saskatchewan ($11.33) and Manitoba ($11.62) being used in the research study.

While having an Ontario personal support worker certificate should help one obtain employment outside of Ontario there is no guarantee that it will help a prospective worker obtain a higher wage. This is the trade-off for going outside of the province. The program was designed to regulate program and work standards across Ontario. Accidentally (or possibly on purpose) by having the course and training set-up in this fashion, the province of Ontario has made it undesirable for personal support workers to leave the province. Unlike other various trade school, college or university degrees which allow flexibility and freedom of movement throughout the entire nation with little to no potential "degree erosion", an Ontario personal support worker certificate holds most of its value within the province of Ontario.

This could be seen as a negative but if you have no desire or need to venture elsewhere within Canada or abroad then the program's benefits, short start to finish time (typically courses are one year in length), and high wages make becoming a PSW a sound short and long-term career choice.

Personal Support Worker Ontario is a resource site that provides information on PSW courses & programs, supplies, job duties and personal support worker employment opportunities. For more information you can visit our PSW information page.

Article Source: Personal Support Worker in Ontario : How Does it Differ From Other Canadian Provinces?

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