Supportive Care Assistant Program

Connect to new talent, receive support for your clients and staff, and get up to a $5,000 wage subsidy!

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Are you a long-term care, home care, or assisted living organization? Are you facing a staffing shortage? Does your team need an extra set of hands? Hire a student from the Supportive Care Assistant Program, get up to a $5,000 wage subsidy, and receive 280 to 560 hours of support!

Program advantages:

  • Recruit staff to support your team and clients
  • Get to know a new pool of candidates
  • Help more workers launch their careers in the sector


The Supportive Care Assistant Program is part of a national initiative in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and addresses the labour shortages in the long-term care sector. It is funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program and is part of CICan’s Building Capacity in Long-term Care project.

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The Supportive Care Assistant (SCA) program is a free micro-certificate funded by the Government of Canada and delivered by colleges and institutes across the country. The program incorporates work-integrated learning and was designed to attract and rapidly train new workers for the long-term care sector. Students have the chance to make a difference in their community, learn in-demand skills, and kickstart a new career.

SCA students receive six weeks of flexible online training followed by a 2-4 month paid work placement in a long-term care, home care, or assisted living setting.

After completing the program, graduates can access a $5,000 stipend to pursue a full personal care provider (PSW, HCA, CCA, PCA, or RCW) certificate.


Before starting their work placement, students learn a range of skills and build a strong foundation for working in the personal care sector. The course curriculum and content were created by a group of health education experts and reviewed by industry stakeholders.

The modules are interactive, and the training takes approximately six weeks (20 hours per module) to complete.

Modules include:

  • Professionalism: Students learn about accountability, confidentiality, conflict resolution, and their role within the health-care team.
  • Client and family-centred assistance: Students learn about client advocacy, independence, privacy, and how to respect the client’s unique needs when providing assistance.
  • Communication: Students learn about the importance of relaying information, how to show respect for a client and their family’s beliefs, and how to work with clients with dementia.
  • Supportive assistance: Students learn how to maintain a safe environment, how to promote client independence, and about the proper use of touch.
  • Infection control and safety: Students learn about infection prevention and control, and how to respond to safety hazards.

There is also a module on the work placement that is completed before, during, and after the placement. It helps to ensure students have everything needed to start working, including their vulnerable sector check, vaccinations, required certifications etc.

For more information, you can access the full course outline and learning objectives.

Role of a Supportive Care Assistant

After the student completes the online training modules, they can begin working at your organization to support your clients and staff. Students perform non-clinical activities which could include:

  • Assisting at mealtime
  • Providing companionship, comfort, and support
  • Assisting with grooming, dressing, elimination, and hygiene
  • Stocking materials required by clients and health-care staff
  • Assisting with tidying, cleaning, and disinfecting
  • Encouraging and assisting with mobility
  • Assisting and directing visitors, COVID screening
  • Participating in activities with clients

As students assist your staff in the day-to-day activities of your facility, your health-care team can focus on providing care. You can consult the complete list of tasks that can be performed by an SCA. If you have specific labour needs, you may have the option to collaborate with your partner delivery institution to provide additional training so the SCAs can perform more tasks.

Placement Details

You would provide the SCA student with 280 to 560 hours of paid work. The number of hours would be predetermined by you and the college or institute offering the program. Students can work part-time or full-time with a minimum of 20 hours a week. All hours must be completed within 16 weeks.

The student would become an employee of your organization and be assigned a preceptor who would provide some supervision, mentoring, and constructive feedback. This could be a personal care provider on your team. The college or institute also provides oversight, regular follow ups, and wraparound supports to promote the student’s success.

You would receive a wage subsidy of up to $5,000 that covers actual wage costs paid to the student as well as any mandatory employer contributions for the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), employment insurance (EI), and vacation pay. You would be required to cover liability insurance for the student.

Long-term Benefit

Through the SCA program, you’ll have the opportunity to meet a new pool of candidates to fill future staffing needs. Graduates of the program are encouraged to further their studies and can receive a $5,000 stipend if they choose to pursue a full personal care provider certificate (PSW, HCA, CCA, PCA, or RCW).

This money is not limited to tuition and can be used for dependant care, transportation, or other education-related expenses. It’s an excellent opportunity for those who want to take the next step and pursue a career in health care. Students would need to meet the admission requirements of the new program and apply separately.


In addition to assigning a preceptor who can provide supervision and feedback, employers are required to provide appropriate learning experiences that allow the student to develop the expected competencies of the program. Students typically do their work placement in a long-term care, home care, or assisted living facility.

To be eligible as an employer partner and to receive the wage subsidy, you must meet identified criteria that include:

  • Licensure requirements
  • Insurance requirements
  • Willingness to host the student(s)
  • A signed agreement with Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan)
  • A signed affiliation agreement with the delivery institution

The full requirements and responsibilities are available to download in a PDF document.