Free work integrated training offered to attract and rapidly train long-term care workers across Canada

Ottawa, April 16, 2021 – Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) is pleased to announce that applications for the Supportive Care Assistant Program, funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program, are now open. This new work integrated training program was developed to quickly address the acute labour shortages in the long-term care sector and is offered at no charge by select colleges and institutes across Canada.

The program includes six-weeks of online training followed by a four-month paid work placement. Students are given the opportunity to discover a new career and make a difference in their community while earning a wage.

After completing the necessary coursework, students will be placed in a long-term or home care setting and perform non-clinical activities to support clients and the health-care team. In addition to providing immediate support to those living and working in long-term care, the program includes a laddering process for participants to up-skill. This offers a career pathway to become fully certified personal care providers (also called personal support workers, health care aides and other titles), ensuring long-term benefits to both students and the sector.

The curriculum and course content for the program were created in collaboration with colleges and institutes from across the country who shared expertise and resources.

Over the next year, up to 2,600 assistants will be trained nationally thanks to the Supportive Care Assistant Program. Employers will also receive a wage subsidy of $5,000 per student.

The program is part of CICan’s Building Capacity in Long-term Care project.

Interested students can visit for more information and to apply.


“CICan’s member colleges and institutes have risen to the occasion to quickly develop a national training program that is engaging and flexible. The Supportive Care Assistant Program is just one example of how colleges and institutes are helping displaced workers develop skills for in-demand careers through programs that meet the needs of students, employers, and their communities.”
Denise Amyot, President and CEO of Colleges and Institutes Canada

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the crucial role that workers in the supportive care sector play in the well-being of our loved ones. It has also highlighted the critical need for more certified workers in the field. The Supportive Care Assistant Program is an innovative way to offer people training and job experience with a pathway to become a fully certified supportive care worker. By listening to and working with industry and union partners, this project will not only help workers and employers but will also make the supportive care sector more resilient in the future.”
Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

About Colleges and Institutes Canada

Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) is the voice of Canada’s publicly-supported colleges, institutes, cegeps and polytechnics, and an international leader in education for employment with ongoing programs in over 25 countries. CICan’s members add over $190B to Canada’s economy each year and contribute to inclusive economic growth by working with industry and community partners to offer more than 10,000 programs to learners in urban, rural, remote, and northern communities.


For more information:

Julien Abord-Babin
Senior Strategic Communications Officer
Colleges and Institutes Canada
Phone: 613-746-2222 ext. 3131
Twitter: @CollegeCan