Ontario offers incentive for PSWs to work at retirement homes

Nurses will receive $10,000 for a one-year commitment

Ontario offers incentive for PSWs to work at retirement homes
The first call for applications from retirement homes runs from Aug. 12 to Sept. 17, 2021.

Ontario is looking to get personal support workers (PSWs) to work in retirement homes in the province.

The government is investing $2 million through the Recruitment and Retention Incentive Program to help recruit and retain skilled PSWs and nurses while building on Ontario’s plan to modernize the provincial retirement homes sector.

The program will be delivered by the Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario (WeRPN).

“Ontario has an immediate need for PSWs and nurses to address staffing shortages in retirement homes,” said Raymond Cho, minister for seniors and accessibility.

“Our government’s partnership with WeRPN will ensure eligible retirement home applicants with the highest level of staffing need will be prioritized under the new Recruitment and Retention Incentive Program. Further, WeRPN is well-positioned to raise awareness of the program with current and future PSW and nursing graduates. Attracting and retaining skilled health care professionals will help safeguard the health and well-being of retirement home residents and their families.”

Previously, Ontario announced it is providing financial support to help 65 Westervelt College students train for careers as PSWs. That investment was part of the government’s $86 million-investment to help train up to 8,000 personal support workers (PSWs) through private career colleges and district school boards.

First announced in the 2021 provincial budget, the RRI is a short-term solution to help attract more nurses and personal support workers (PSWs) to the retirement home sector to address immediate staffing needs in the coming two years.

The RRI provides an incentive payment for new and recently hired PSWs and nurses. Those who commit to work for six months will get $5,000 while those who will stay on their job at a retirement home for a year will get $10,000.

The first call for applications from retirement homes runs from Aug. 12 to Sept. 17, 2021. A second application period will open in December this year.

To be eligible, retirement homes must be licensed under Ontario’s Retirement Homes Act, 2010 (RHA). Also, the position(s) applied for under RRI must meet the minimum workload and time commitment requirement starting on or after June 1, 2021. These commitments are 25 hours/week for PSWs for 6 months and 30 hours/week for nurses for one year. Two retirement homes may submit a joint application if staff hours are shared across homes.

Lastly, a retirement home must have identified a member of their organization who is willing to mentor any newly hired nurse(s) (only applicable for nursing positions).

“WeRPN is pleased to partner with the government to support the recruitment and retention of PSWs and nurses to Ontario’s retirement homes at a time when they are desperately needed,” said Dianne Martin, WeRPN CEO.

Recently, the federal and New Brunswick governments made it easier for aspiring personal support workers and human service counsellors to get their careers started through the Canada-New Brunswick Labour Market Agreements.