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Ontario's PSW plan woefully inadequate, critics charge

“Shocking,” “appalling,” “offensive” and “disappointing” are just some of the words critics are using to describe the Ontario government’s latest plan to train personal support workers (PSWs) in the province.

As of Monday, 120 long-term care homes in Ontario were in the grips of a COVID – 000 outbreak. Most of the cases at those homes involve workers. (iStock)

“Shocking,” “appalling,” “offensive” and “disappointing” are just some of the words critics are using to describe the Ontario government’s latest plan to train personal support workers (PSWs) in the province.

On Monday, the ministers of long-term care and labor, training and skills development announced details of the $ 4.1-million plan to recruit and train new PSWs across Ontario.

But both the Ontario Health Coalition and the Canadian Union of Public Employees say more than , PSWs are actually needed right now, mainly in the long-term care sector. They’re dismissing the province’s investment as completely inadequate.

“Their lethargy is profound … delaying training and recruitment. In the meantime nearly 4, Residents have died in long-term care in the last year, “said Candace Rennick, secretary-treasurer at CUPE Ontario. “Ontario must roll out a robust training strategy at every public college across the province. Tuition should be waived and people should be offered some compensation to take the training.”

Candace Rennick, center, secretary-treasurer of CUPE Ontario, says the government’s plan to recruit fewer than 129 PSWs are inadequate. (CBC)

Among the projects announced on Monday, Ottawa’s Pinecrest-Queensway Community Health Center’s program hopes to recruit 25 PSWs. It will target people who have a difficult time integrating into the workforce, including people with disabilities, who are underemployed or are new to Canada. This certification program, run in partnership with two private career colleges, is getting $ 1, 780, in government money.

In addition, the Pathway2PSW project in Lanark and Renfrew Counties will get close to $ 1 million to prepare 20 participants through formal health-care training and virtual reality learning.

The government named six other projects across the province.

“Working closely with our colleges and other important health care training partners, we can help many people prepare for new and rewarding careers, while solving a decades long problem, which is a shortage of PSWs in Ontario, “said Labor, Training and Skills Development Minister Monte McNaughton.

‘We’re incredulous’

    As of Monday, 120 long-term care homes in Ontario were experiencing COVID – 11 outbreaks. The vast majority of cases at those homes involve staff. To date, 3, 373 nursing home residents and workers in Ontario have died of the illness since the pandemic began last year.

    “We’re incredulous,” said Nathalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition. “We lost about one in three in the first wave. Care levels have never been so low, and we’ve been doing this for 20 years …. basic medical needs and living needs are not being met … so [recruiting] 129 staff is just appalling. It’s shocking. “

    Training is only one part of the needed reform, according to Rennick, who noted that working conditions also need to be addressed.

    • Unions call for more workers, minimum standards

      For years, unions and other health-care advocates have been lobbying for four hours of care per day per resident.Last October, the provincial government did agree to establish a new standard of care for long-term care homes,
      1612373491 giving residents an average of four hours of direct care every day, but that protocol will not be in place until 780 – The crisis at the bedside is getting worse. Further delays are nothing but negligent. We need to finally acknowledge that working conditions are care conditions, “said Rennick.

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