Unifor marks Personal Support Worker Day, calls for safer workplaces

TORONTO, May 19, 2016 /CNW/ - Unifor salutes the many thousands of Unifor members employed as Personal Support Workers (PSWs) as Ontario celebrates Personal Support Worker Day. PSWs are a vital and substantial portion of Ontario's health care workforce and provide much needed assistance in the activities of daily living for residents and clients in hospitals, in long-term care or home care. 

The risk of work-related loss time injuries and disability for these care providers is regrettably high and as a result of their working conditions which include inadequate staffing levels, heavy workloads and the physical demands of patient lifting and repositioning.

"We welcomed the Ontario Government's initiative to increase the hourly wage of PSWs in home care reaching $16.50 by April 1 as a step towards ensuring a decent living wage, but we also need decent hours to ensure decent incomes and more job stability and to attract young people to become PSWs," said Katha Fortier, Unifor Ontario Regional Director. "A regular, predictable work schedule is vital to providing continuity of care and consistency of assignment for the residents and clients served by PSWs. It is not possible to provide resident-centered care or quality jobs when the majority of PSW care hours in long-term care are being provided by part time if not casual staff."

On PSW Day, we need to commit to ensuring safe workplaces, quality care and ensuring a more stable personal support workforce. This includes measures to create more permanent and less casual employment for personal support workers, as well as on-the-job orientation and compensated training to help both new graduates and existing PSWs staff adjust to the change and transition within the health sector.

"This year, the Ontario government must set a priority goal of ensuring long-term care and home care service providers improve consistency of PSW patient-client assignment by 50 per cent to enhance safe and quality care for residents and clients served by PSWs," said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.

For more information about the changes needed to safeguard PSWs, please see Unifor's statement: http://www.unifor.org/en/whats-new/briefs-statements/personal-support-worker-psw-day

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers.


For further information: please contact Unifor Communications National Representative Shelley Burgoyne at shelley.burgoyne@unifor.org or 902-717-7491 (cell)

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