Healthcare sector to benefit from release of first-ever national occupational standard for personal care providers (PSWs, CCAs, HCAs, etc.)

OTTAWA, November 3, 2022 – Educators, workers, and employers in the long-term care, home care, and community services sector have a new tool to help reduce skills gaps, better understand job expectations, and improve consistency of service and care for clients.  

This week, Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) released the first-ever National Occupational Standard for Personal Care Providers. Personal care providers are mostly unregulated workers known by over 60 different job titles across Canada including personal support workers, continuing care assistants, health care aides, and resident care workers. While the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the crucial role they play in caring for Canadians, it also exposed pervasive skills gaps, labour shortages, and inconsistencies across jurisdictions. 

The national occupational standard (NOS) was created to address these challenges and serves as a set of voluntary guidelines. It outlines what workers in the occupation do and the skills necessary to succeed in the occupation. That means job seekers can better plan their career paths, employers can focus on recruiting the right workers with the necessary skills, educators can create curriculum based on clear learning objectives, and workers, including those who were internationally trained, can have their skills and experience more easily assessed and recognized. 

The NOS required extensive collaboration and consultation with sector stakeholders. This included a national working group, national advisors, focus groups held across all provinces and territories, a national survey, and a public review. In total, over 600 individuals contributed to its development including personal care providers, educators, clients, home care and long-term care employers, government and public health officials, and other healthcare professionals.  

The National Occupational Standard for Personal Care Providers can be viewed and downloaded from CICan’s website. The project was funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program and is part of CICan’s Building Capacity in Long-term Care project. 


“Personal support workers play an increasingly important role in our healthcare system. I want to thank CICan for all their hard work in developing these standards, and for their efforts to strengthen care for Canadians who rely on these skilled workers and their vital services.” – Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion 

“This national occupational standard is a very important document for the healthcare sector and for all Canadians. Front-line healthcare workers like PSWs, CCAs, and HCAs play a vital role in caring for our loved ones. Now, for the first time ever, the duties, competencies, and skills required of the occupation have been compiled and documented on a national level. This provides a clear understanding of what is expected from these workers and highlights the enormous value they bring to people in Canada. The NOS is a practical tool and a first step towards reducing skills gaps, improving worker conditions, and ensuring our loved ones receive quality and consistent care. We’re proud of the leadership role colleges and institutes played in its development.” – Denise Amyot, President and CEO, Colleges and Institutes Canada 

About Colleges and Institutes Canada: 

CICan is the national and international voice of Canada’s largest post-secondary education network. It advocates, builds capacity, and drives knowledge to strengthen Canada’s publicly supported colleges, institutes, CEGEPs, and polytechnics. With more than 95% of Canadians living within 50 km of a member institution, and thanks to its extensive reach around the globe, CICan works to future-proof communities in Canada and abroad. 

We respectfully acknowledge that CICan’s offices in Ottawa are located on the traditional and unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe Nation. 


For more information: 

Leah Jurkovic
Director, Communications
Colleges and Institutes Canada
Twitter: @CollegeCan