The Ontario government is investing close to $5M in a Conestoga-led micro-credential program that will help 500 people across the province develop the skills and experience to work safely in long-term care (LTC) homes.
The announcement was made on Monday, May 3 by Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care, at a virtual event hosted by Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Mike Harris and Kitchener South-Hespeler MPP Amy Fee.
“Our government is committed to modernizing long-term care and this includes having the staff we need to support our most vulnerable,” said Dr. Fullerton. “This investment will help us deliver on our commitment to ensure residents receive, on average, four hours of direct daily care per day and help 500 Ontarians train for careers in the long-term care sector.”
The Long-Term Care Home Assistant program, funded through SkillsAdvance Ontario (SAO), includes five weeks of essential and technical skills training as well as a two-week paid job placement with a long-term care provider. Areas of training include infection prevention and control, sanitation and housekeeping, food safety and service as well as COVID procedures related to LTC homes.
After a successful pilot in Waterloo Region in 2020, the program is now being expanded across the province with the support of the SAO funding. Conestoga will work in close collaboration with LTC employers and Employment Ontario service providers.
“COVID-19 has demonstrated how important having trained staff working with our vulnerable long-term care residents is for their safety and wellbeing,” said MPP Mike Harris. “This investment in Conestoga will not only address workforce needs in Waterloo Region, but across the province, benefiting our health care system while providing meaningful opportunities for job seekers.”
“Our government's commitment to this program not only creates meaningful jobs in the health-care sector, but also adds further protections for those who live and work in long-term care homes,” said MPP Amy Fee.
“We greatly appreciate the province’s investment in this important initiative,” said Conestoga President John Tibbits. “The Long-term Care Home Assistant program will address the urgent need for trained staff in LTC homes while providing opportunities for unemployed workers to gain skills that will allow them to return to the workforce and make positive contributions to the health and well-being of their communities.”
The program will be delivered at no cost to qualified participants. Training and supports will be available for 500 participants over two years starting in June 2021. For more information, contact Employment Ontario or the Conestoga Career Centre.