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Building Capacity in Long-term Care

The Building Capacity in Long-term Care project is a national initiative to address the acute labour shortages in the long-term care sector exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of the project, CICan is collaborating with colleges and institutes from across the country to develop and implement the Supportive Care Assistant Program, a fully subsidized micro-certificate to attract and rapidly train new long-term care workers.

We also worked with our members, provinces and territories, employers, workers’ organizations, and other stakeholders to create a national occupational standard for the personal care provider role (PSW, HCA, etc.). This standard will serve as a reference point to help employees, employers, and educators understand what workers need to know to succeed in their roles.

View the standard

The Supportive Care Assistant Program

The free micro-certificate program includes six weeks of online training followed by a paid work placement in a long-term care setting.

  • The program, offered in French and English, allows students to discover a new career, get paid work experience, and make a difference in their community.
  • During the work placement, students perform non-clinical activities which could include assisting with meals, participating in activities, cleaning rooms, and stocking materials.
  • As students assist staff in the day-to-day activities, the employer’s health-care team can focus on providing care.
  • Graduates of the micro-certificate can access a $5,000 stipend to ladder into a full personal care provider* program (note that students would need to meet the admission requirements for that program).

Applications for the program are now being accepted by colleges and institutes across Canada!

If you are an employer in long-term care, find out how you can welcome trainees into your workplace.

The content and educational materials developed for the Supportive Care Assistant Program will be made available to training delivery institutions through an open education platform. For more information or to become a training delivery partner, contact

*also called personal support workers, health care aides and other titles

Fast Facts

  • Up to 2,600 new supportive care assistants will be trained nationally to support and strengthen the long-term care sector.
  • Partner employers will receive up to a $5,000 wage subsidy per participant.
  • The demand for health-care workers is increasing. In the next 30 years, the number of Canadians over the age of 85 is expected to triple.

Funded By

Funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program.

Sustainable Development Goals

  • Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being
  • Goal 4: Quality Education
  • Goal 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • Goal 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
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