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
Table of Contents
- Quick Facts
- Additional Resources
- Related Topics
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.
- PREP LTC is delivered on behalf of the province by the Ontario Centres for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care (Ontario CLRI) at the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging, in collaboration with the Ontario CLRI teams at Baycrest Academy for Research and Education and Bruyère Research Institute.
- The expanded Living Classroom program will be delivered on behalf of the province by the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging in collaboration with the Ontario Association of Adult and Continuing Education School Board Administrators.
- Ontario is offering incentives of up to $25,400 to students and recent graduates of personal support worker education programs to launch careers in long-term care homes and in the home and community care sector.
- The Ontario government is investing up to $4.9 billion to create thousands of new positions for personal support workers and nurses in long-term care.
- As part of its plan to fix long-term care and address sector waitlists, the government is building more than 30,000 net new long-term care beds in Ontario by 2028 and upgrading more than 28,000 older beds to modern design standards.
“The Living Classrooms program has been a game changer for our campus of care. Not only have the students helped to ease the burden for our staff during peak times of the day, but some students who were not already employed elsewhere, choose to stay. We have seen many enter the program who previously would not have been able to swing it financially. With course fees covered, the classes have enabled a steady stream of potential new recruits.”
– Peter Bolland
Administrator, Spruce Lodge Home for the Aged
“Both the Living Classroom and PREP LTC initiatives help build and retain a skilled workforce to meet the unique needs of long-term care home residents. These programs have already made a valuable contribution to the care of older adults by equipping and encouraging students to pursue meaningful careers in the long-term care sector.”
– Tina M. Mah, PhD.
Executive Director, Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging
“Increasing staffing in long-term care is central to ensuring safe and quality care for residents and peace of mind for families. The retention of personal support workers and nursing students requires proper training and quality clinical placements. RNAO is proud to contribute to these goals through its best practice guidelines and clinical pathways that ensure evidence-based person-centred care.”
– Dr. Doris Grinspun, RN, O.ONT
CEO, Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO)
“Thank you to the Ontario government for continuing this significant investment to train and provide clinical placements for personal support workers and nursing students. Both the PREP LTC and Living Classrooms programs are making a tremendous difference in growing a much-needed and skilled long-term care workforce to care for Ontario’s seniors.”
– Donna Duncan
CEO, Ontario Long Term Care Association
“Seniors living in long-term care deserve the best caregivers. AdvantAge Ontario supports government efforts to boost hands-on training and career development for PSWs and nurses working in our homes. We are very pleased to see government expanding the PREP LTC program and Living Classrooms. These initiatives integrate education into long-term care homes and provide valuable, real-life experiences that prepare students to better serve the needs of residents.”
– Lisa Levin
CEO of AdvantAge Ontario
“The Ontario Personal Support Workers Association (OPSWA) applauds today’s announcement by the Minister of Long-Term Care and hopes that the PREP LTC and Living Classrooms programs will continue to offer PSW students dynamic training while contributing to building a stronger profession. As the professional association for PSWs, we welcome this news and its positive supports of recruiting and retaining Ontario’s PSWs of the future.”
– Miranda Ferrier
CEO and Provincial President, Ontario Personal Support Worker Association (OPSWA)
“Ontario’s young people are playing a critical role in delivering quality health care and support for family and seniors living in long-term care, as we invest in graduating thousands of students into rewarding professions like nursing and PSWs. We will continue to support more hands-on learning programs that encourage high school students to pursue meaningful careers that make a difference in our community and country.”
– Stephen Lecce
Minister of Education
Learn about the government services available to you and how government works. Learn more
Health and Wellness
Get help navigating Ontario’s health care system and connecting with the programs or services you’re looking for. Learn more
Home and Community
Information for families on major life events and care options, including marriage, births and child care. Also includes planning resources for municipalities. Learn more