TORONTO — The Ontario government is investing up to $100 million to add an additional 2,000 nurses to the long-term care sector by 2024-25. The government will do this by supporting the training of thousands of personal support workers (PSWs) and nurses who want to advance their careers in long-term care.
“Our government will soon be releasing its plan to protect the progress we have made against COVID and ensuring we have enough staff to deliver high quality care to residents is a key part of this plan,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of Long-Term Care. “That is why we are committed to fixing long-term care, and supporting personal support workers and nurses who want to take the next step in their careers in the long-term care sector.”
Today’s investment supports the government’s Long-Term Care Staffing Plan, which was launched last year and sets out actions that will educate, train and help recruit tens of thousands of new health care staff through partnerships with sector partners, long-term care homes, and education and training providers, so that homes can provide an average of four hours of direct care per resident per day.
The two innovative programs created through this funding are:
The BEGIN initiative: Bridging Educational Grant In Nursing, jointly offered by the Ministry of Long-Term Care, Ministry of Health and the Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario, will provide tuition support to personal support workers and registered practical nurses so they can pursue further education to become registered practical nurses and registered nurses respectively. Eligible personal support workers will receive up to $6,000 a year and eligible registered practical nurses will receive up to $10,000 a year, in financial support. Candidates with additional needs may also be eligible for further supports that include a maximum of $5,000 per year to cover subsidies for course materials, tutoring, childcare, and travel costs.
Applicants will be expected to commit to working in the long-term care sector through a Return of Service Agreement for a period equivalent to the time they receive these funding supports for their education.
The Nursing Program Transformation in Ontario’s Colleges, jointly offered bythe Ministry of Long-Term Care, Ministry of Colleges and Universities, and Colleges Ontario, will increase access to nursing programs at publicly-assisted colleges through:
- Introduction of hybrid online and in-person learning models in practical nursing and Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs, to provide students the flexibility to learn as per individual schedules.
- Creating an additional 500 enrolments in bridging programs for the 2022-23 academic year, that are designed to give applicants the skills and credentials they need to move to the next stage of their career. Hybrid options will also be available for bridging programs.
- Providing up to $6,000 a year in financial support to internationally trained nurses to gain the credentials required to work in Ontario.
“Ontario’s personal support workers and nurses have continued to demonstrate their excellence by providing exceptional care throughout the pandemic,” said Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “Today, we’re reinforcing our commitment to support their success with these two innovative programs that will help them advance their careers and increase the supply of front-line health care staff, trained through Ontario’s world-renowned postsecondary education system.”
The government has a plan to fix long-term care and to ensure Ontario’s seniors get the quality of care they need and deserve both now and in the future. The plan is built on three pillars: staffing and care; accountability, enforcement, and transparency; and building modern, safe, comfortable homes for seniors.
The government will release its plan to protect Ontario’s progress against COVID-19 and for building the foundation for the province’s recovery and prosperity in the 2021 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review on Thursday, November 4.
“WeRPN is thrilled to collaborate with government to create the BEGIN initiative that will give PSWs and RPNs new opportunities to grow their careers while expanding Ontario’s nursing workforce. Over the coming decade, Ontario will need thousands of nurses to meet the health care needs of our long-term care residents – initiatives like this are key to building a much-needed steady supply of nurses and retaining more of these dedicated professionals in our health system.”
– Dianne Martin
CEO, Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario (WeRPN)
“This tremendous announcement will create many exciting new opportunities for health care professionals to advance in their careers. It ensures more nurses and PSWs will have opportunities to strengthen their qualifications and helps address the need for more nurses across the province.”
– Linda Franklin
President and CEO, Colleges Ontario