Registry for Personal Support Workers Key to Protecting Seniors at Home

TORONTO, April 26 /CNW/ - A provincial registry of personal support workers (PSWs) and standards for education and training of careworkers are needed in Ontario to ensure quality of care and protection for seniors receiving home care.

Seniors, people with disabilities, and careworkers have expressed fears that a decision by the provincial government - first reported by the CBC - not to regulate personal support workers will put vulnerable clients receiving care at home at risk.

In the absence of regulation, Ontario can follow a model pioneered in British Columbia to ensure all careworkers are registered and receive the necessary education and training, according to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

"In the absence of regulation of PSWs, we need to ensure quality of care and protection for the vulnerable by registering careworkers and ensuring standards for training are set and met," said Sharleen Stewart, president of SEIU Local 1. "BC has recently established a process that Ontario could use as a model."

Right now in Ontario, anyone can walk into the living room of an elderly person receiving home care and begin dressing a wound with zero training or certification. There are also no measures in place currently to stop an unregistered careworker who is convicted of elder abuse from being hired by a company providing home care services.

BC acted to address this problem in January and signed up 80 per cent of careworkers in six weeks while setting province-wide standards.

SEIU represents more than 46,000 health care and community services workers in Ontario, of which 7,000 of these members are PSWs who work in the community in home care.

SOURCE SEIU Healthcare

For further information: For further information: Pat Chastang, Media Relations, SEIU Local 1, (416) 709-0501

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