Supportive Care Assistant Program

Receive FREE tuition to kickstart a career in health care!

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There’s an urgent need for more health-care workers. The free Supportive Care Assistant (SCA) micro-certificate program is your opportunity to discover a new career, learn in-demand skills, get practical work experience, and make a difference in your community.

What’s involved?

  • 6 weeks of flexible online training
  • 2-4 month paid work placement
  • Access to a $5,000 stipend to upskill

Colleges and institutes across Canada are accepting applications now! Scroll down for more information.

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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Program Overview

The Supportive Care Assistant (SCA) program is a free micro-certificate funded by the Government of Canada that serves as a steppingstone towards a career in health care. It includes six weeks of online training followed by a 2-4 month paid work placement in a long-term care, home care, or assisted living setting. You’ll discover a new career while providing much needed support to people in your community.

After completing the program, you could receive a $5,000 stipend to take the next step and become a personal care provider (also called a PSW, HCA, CCA, PCA, or RCW). The stipend can be used for tuition, books, dependant care, and other education-related costs. Please note that you would need to meet the admission requirements for the new program and apply separately.

Online Training

Through the online training modules, you will learn a range of skills and build a strong foundation for working in the personal care sector.

Each module will take approximately 20 hours to complete and can be done at your own pace.

The modules are user-friendly and interactive. The content was created by a group of health education experts and reviewed by industry stakeholders.

Modules include:

  • Professionalism: You’ll learn about accountability, confidentiality, conflict resolution, and the role of an SCA within the health-care team.
  • Client and family-centred assistance: You’ll learn about client advocacy, independence, privacy, and how to respect the client’s unique needs when providing assistance.
  • Communication: You’ll 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: You’ll learn how to maintain a safe environment, how to promote client independence, and about the proper use of touch.
  • Infection control and safety: You’ll learn about infection prevention and control, and how to respond to safety hazards.

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

Work Placement

After completing the online training modules, you will be connected to an employer who will provide between 280 and 560 hours of paid work in a long-term care, home care, or assisted living setting.

You will provide important support to clients and staff by assisting personal care providers and the health-care team. The role involves performing 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

You can also consult the full list of tasks that can be performed by an SCA. Depending on your college or institute, you may have the opportunity to learn additional skills to perform more tasks.

Once you have finished the required work placement hours, you will be granted a micro-certificate from the college or institute delivering the program.

Funding for Further Studies

After graduating from the Supportive Care Assistant Program, you can access a $5,000 stipend to further your studies to become a personal care provider (PSW, HCA, CCA, PCA, or RCW)!

The $5,000 will help cover costs associated with the new training and can be used for tuition, books, certifications, dependant care, uniforms, transportation etc.

Please note that you would need to meet the admission requirements for the new program and apply separately. It is also recommended that you apply for the personal care provider program as soon as possible as spaces might be limited. You may receive some recognition for the micro-certificate towards the new training.

For more information and to learn the steps involved in applying, you can review the FAQs related to the stipend or contact us with any other questions. If you’re an SCA program graduate and are enrolled in a personal care provider program, apply for the stipend now!

A Career in the Long-term Care Sector

With the SCA program, you can discover a new career. You’ll have the chance to get practical hands-on work experience, network with health-care professionals, and see the range of roles that exist in the sector.

If you love caring for and helping others, a career as a personal care provider could be for you.

The role can be challenging but rewarding. It requires having a significant amount of commitment, empathy, and patience to work with clients and their families.

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

There is currently a need for more personal care providers across Canada. Furthermore, 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.

Admission Requirements

You must meet the below eligibility requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • 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)
  • 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
  • Ability to pass a vulnerable sector police check

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 your work placement
  • 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 proof of certain immunizations. You may be exposed to communicable diseases during your work placement.

Cost

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 the college or institute delivering the program to learn more.

You may be expected to cover certain costs associated with the work placement including a vulnerable sector check or other employment requirements (ex. first aid certificate, appropriate clothing, or footwear).

Apply Now

Start dates vary depending on the institution. Apply early to ensure your place. To apply, connect with a college or institute currently accepting applications:

British Columbia

Alberta

Saskatchewan

Ontario

New Brunswick and Nova Scotia

Prince Edward Island

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.


Questions?

For questions, please visit the FAQ page , email SCA-APSS@collegesinstitutes.ca or call 613-746-7093. If you’re an employer in long-term care, learn more about becoming an employer partner.