Thinking about becoming a personal support worker (PSW)? Interested in this career path but not sure about how much a PSW salary in Canada is? Well, this is the article for you. Let’s go straight to the point.
Across Canada, an average personal support worker salary is $38,025 a year, which is the same as $19.50 per hour. Like it happens in every other career, entry-level workers with one to four years’ experience make less money, around $31,000, while workers with more than 10 years of seniority make more, around $47,000. This information was gathered from talent.com and payscale.com, based on data from more than 1,500 salaries.
Now that we cleared that up, let's go more in-depth about personal support workers’ salaries in Canada. These tend to vary depending on other factors apart from years of experience. For instance, a personal support worker's salary can increase depending on the city or province where they live, the type of place where they work, the type of work performed, particular skills they might have, their overall education, and if the worker is unionized or not.
Regardless of these variables, it is considered that PSWs are among the highest paid in this category across Canada, according to the Department of Employment and Social Development. The category is “Assisting occupations in support of health services”, which has the National Occupational Classification (NOC) number 341.
FUN FACT: The NOC is Canada’s unique system for describing occupations. It tells people information like general duties, educational requirements, and more. It is especially helpful for new immigrants, young workers, and people who are changing their careers later in life. The system classifies occupations depending on skill levels and duties, assigning a number for each occupation or group of similar ones.
Ontario has more than 100,000 active personal support workers and many more currently in training to meet the high demand for this service. The province has been making great efforts to improve work conditions for these workers and to help future workers start their careers in this field.
In Ontario, a PSW makes around $16.50 per hour, but those who work in other settings like city-owned nursing homes serving the senior population and those who work for hospitals make over $22 per hour, according to personalsupportworkerhq.com.
PSW salaries are expected to keep rising in Ontario in the following years as the demand for these support workers continues to increase due to how the aging population is projected to grow. The Ministry of Finance assures that by 2046 the province will have 4.5 million seniors aged 65 or more (23.3%), almost doubling the current senior population in the province, which is 2.5 million or 17.2%.
Another factor that is expected to increase PSW wages in Ontario is funding for this type of healthcare service, as more and more people turn 65 years of age. Employment growth, as well as the number of positions that are projected to open up when active personal support workers start to retire in the following years, also mean the possibilities for future PSW in terms of career opportunities and salaries are positive.
Ontario is the most densely populated province in the county, according to Statistics Canada, with over 13 million people as of 2016, when the last official census was conducted. As of January 1, 2021, the population is estimated to be 14,755,211 million. Having this number of inhabitants, this is the province with higher demand for PSWs in the country.
In Southwestern Ontario, one of the most populated regions of the province, PSWs are essential workers in the community, providing much-needed support to thousands of families. The biggest cities of the region are Kitchener, London, Windsor, Guelph, Brantford, and Sarnia. Here, the average PSW salary is $18 per hour.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care of Ontario has been working on a "PSW Workforce Stabilization Strategy" for several years. Part of the strategy includes an initiative designed to increase the PSW salary up to $4 per hour in a three-year period. This is known as the "PSW Wage Enhancement Initiative" and it applies only to PSWs who provide publicly funded services. Thanks to this increase, since 2016 these personal support workers are entitled to a minimum of $16.50 per hour.
According to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, 95% of the eligible organizations are paying the minimum provincial rate to their PSWs, while they are working with the remaining 5% to do the same.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has continued to advocate for PSWs and has recommended further increases to their salaries on top of the base wage of $16.50, as part of the aforementioned PSW Workforce Stabilization strategy.
Today, PSWs working in publicly funded organizations can also expect to be paid an hourly wage increase of $1.00 per hour, depending on base salary, to a maximum of $19 per hour, retroactive to April 1, 2016. This is the most recent mandatory increase, and it applies to temporary, casual, part-time, or full-time employees that provide services to the community, but only to hours spent doing direct client care (traveling times or education times are not contemplated).
Some Personal Support Workers in Ontario have been eligible to receive a temporary pay increase of $3 per hour since last year, and in the month of March 2021, the local government announced an extension to this benefit granted to support the PSW population during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The pay increase is available for PSWs working in publicly funded organizations such as long-term care homes, hospitals, group homes, and other home care settings when they are funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in Ontario. This time, it will be available until June 30th, 2021.
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