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Ontario to invest more than $52M to recruit, train healthcare workers

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Ontario will invest over $52 million into recruiting and training over 3,700 additional healthcare workers and caregivers to support an already strained healthcare system against the second wave of COVID-19, Premier Doug Ford announced on Monday.

The funding, Ford said, will add 800 more nurses and 600 acute-care nurses, as well as 2,000 more personal support workers.

“It’s the thousands of nurses, personal support workers, and other frontline workers who have made the difference in the fight against COVID-19,” said Premier Ford. “Today’s significant investment will allow us to recruit, retain, and quickly deploy a militia of health care heroes, caregivers, and volunteer professionals to care for our seniors and most vulnerable and ensure our health care system is prepared to deal with any outbreaks or surges in cases.”

“Retaining and increasing the number of frontline health care workers in our continuous fight against COVID-19 is critical,” said Health Minister Christine Elliott. “We are taking further action to ensure our frontline health care workers are supported, and the health care sector has the staff to provide timely, high-quality care.”

Ford called the 700 new cases reported in Ontario Monday — the highest recorded daily increase since the start of the pandemic — very concerning.

In order to increase and stabilize the health care workforce, the province is investing an additional $26.3 million to support personal support workers (PSWs) and supportive care workers, including:

  • $14 million for the Personal Support Worker training funds to continue training PSWs in the home and community care and long-term care sectors;
  • $10.3 million for the new Personal Support Worker Return of Service Program, to recruit and retain recent graduates to work in long-term care homes and in the home and community care sectors. This program will provide a $5,000 incentive to 2,000 recent graduates for a six-month commitment to work in these settings;
  • $1.3 million to train 160 supportive care workers to provide basic home support services; and
  • $700,000 in accelerated PSW training for 220 students with prior health experience to practice in Ontario.

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