Supportive Care Assistant Program
Discover a career in long-term care and make a difference in the lives of others.
Colleges and institutes across Canada are now accepting applications for a new micro-certificate, offered at no cost, that will help you build new skills and get practical work experience in the long-term care sector.
The program includes six weeks of online training, done at your pace, followed by a paid work placement.
- Free tuition
- Paid work experience
- Flexible online learning
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.
Please note that this micro-certificate is not the same as provincially funded programs to become a personal care provider (also called personal support worker (PSW), health care aide, and other titles).
The six-week online training is divided into learning modules and will prepare you for your role as a supportive care assistant.
- Client and family-centred assistance
- Supportive assistance
- Infection control & safety
There is also a module related to your work placement that will be completed before, during, and after your placement. Each module will take approximately 20 hours to complete and can be done at your own pace. After completing the required modules, you will be connected to an employer who will provide between 280 to 560 hours of paid employment in a home care, community care, or long-term care setting. The length of the work placement is determined by the delivery institution.
Once you have successfully completed all the requirements, you will be granted a micro-certificate from the college or institute delivering the program.
Role of a Supportive Care Assistant
During your paid placement, you will work in a home care, community care, or long-term care setting. You will assist certified personal care providers* and the health-care team to support clients. The role involves performing non-clinical activities which could include:
- Assisting with meals
- Assisting with cleaning and disinfecting
- Stocking materials required by clients and health-care staff
- Making clients’ beds, cleaning their rooms and other areas
- Providing companionship, comfort, and support
- Assisting with moving about and accompanying clients as they move about
- Participating in activities with clients
A Career in the Long-term Care Sector
Completing the Supportive Care Assistant Program is a steppingstone towards a career in a growing sector. In the next 30 years, the number of Canadians over the age of 85 is expected to triple and the demand for health-care workers will increase.
A career in long-term care can be challenging but rewarding. It requires having a significant amount of commitment, empathy, and patience to work with clients and families in distress.
It could be right for you if you:
- Are compassionate and like working with and helping other people
- Enjoy working with older adults and those with significant levels of cognitive and physical impairment
- Can communicate effectively and have strong interpersonal skills
- Are friendly, flexible, and can provide warm encouragement
- Enjoy working with others and as a member of a team
- Are trustworthy and honest
- Have demonstrated resiliency and sensitivity
Once you have completed the Supportive Care Assistant Program, you may wish to further your studies to become a personal care provider. If you choose to do so, you may receive some recognition for the micro-certificate towards the new training. Please note that you will need to meet the admission requirements for that program.
To be eligible to participate:
- You must be at least 18 years of age
- You must be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or person who has been granted refugee status in Canada (international students or those on work visas cannot register)
- You must be legally entitled to work in Canada according to the relevant provincial legislation and regulations
- For English first language speakers, you must provide proof of proficiency as determined by your college or institute (Grade 10 English (most provinces) or college admission testing may be used as an equivalency)
- For English as a second language speakers, you must provide proof of English language skills (IELTS 6.0; CLB 6; CEFR B2) or equivalency as determined by your college or institute
Additionally, you should:
- Have an interest in a career in long-term care
- Have regular access to a PC or MAC computer with an internet connection and recent versions of Google Chrome or Internet Explorer installed
- Have basic computer skills
- Have access to transportation for work placement(s)
- Be available to work shifts (evenings/nights/weekends)
- Be physically able to stand/walk with some bending, twisting, and lifting
Note: Additional requirements may include a criminal record check and proof of certain immunizations. You may be exposed to communicable diseases during your work placement.
There is no cost for tuition or to register for the Supportive Care Assistant Program. Bursaries are available to support dependant care during your work placement. Contact your college or institute to learn more.
You may be expected to cover certain costs associated with the work placement including a criminal record check or other employment requirements (ex. appropriate clothing or footwear).
Start dates vary depending on the institution. Apply early to ensure your place. To apply, connect with a college or institute currently accepting applications:
Please do not apply to more than one institution.
Stay in Touch
More colleges will be offering the program. Provide your contact info to receive updates.