Here's what you need to know as a PSW about the upcoming HSCPOA Act [updated June 2024]

June 29, 2024
min read
Last Updated
June 29, 2024
Here's what you need to know as a PSW about the upcoming HSCPOA Act [updated June 2024]
Effective December 2024, Ontario introduces the Health and Supportive Care Providers Oversight Authority to regulate PSWs, ensuring safe, competent, and ethical care. The new framework includes registration pathways, a public register, and a Code of Ethics, aiming to enhance public trust and quality of care.

Juggling the demands of your job with family obligations while still keeping up with the latest industry changes can feel like a full-time job in itself!

As a PSW, we know you're working long shifts, caring for your clients with dedication and compassion. We appreciate all the incredible work you do and want to make sure you're well-prepared for the changes coming your way.

Finding time to research new regulations? Not exactly at the top of your to-do list, right? That's why we've put together this handy resource for you help you navigate the upcoming changes with a smile and a bit of humor.

Trust us, you don't want to wait until the last minute to get up to speed. So, grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and let's dive into everything you need to know about the HSCPOA Act!

What is the HSCPOA Act?

First things first, let's talk about the Health and Supportive Care Providers Oversight Authority (HSCPOA) Act, set to roll out in December 2024. This new legislation is a game-changer for PSWs in Ontario.

The HSCPOA Act aims to establish an independent regulatory body, the HSCPOA Authority to oversee PSWs, ensuring higher standards of care and accountability. Think of it as a superhero cape for your profession, giving you the tools and recognition you deserve!

Key Objectives and Goals of the HSCPOA Act

So, what exactly does the HSCPOA Act aim to achieve? Here are the key objectives and goals:

  1. Independent Regulatory Body: The Act will create an independent body to regulate PSWs, ensuring that the profession is held to consistent standards across the board.
  2. Public Register: A public register will be maintained to verify PSW credentials. This means your hard-earned qualifications will be easily accessible and recognized. The public will also have more transparency on your status as a registered PSW and more confidence in standards of care and professional qualification.
  3. Code of Ethics: A Code of Ethics will be implemented, providing clear guidelines on professional conduct and responsibilities.
  4. Complaints Resolution Process: A structured process for resolving complaints will be established, ensuring that any issues are handled fairly and transparently.
  5. Visual Mark for Registered PSWs: A visual mark will be introduced for registered PSWs, symbolizing trust and quality in the care you provide.
  6. Fund for Therapy and Counseling: A fund will be set up to provide therapy and counseling for individuals alleging sexual abuse by registrants, ensuring support for those in need.

Why it Matters to PSWs in Ontario

Now, you might be wondering, "Why should I care about this Act?" Well, here's why:

  1. Increased Accountability and Transparency: With an independent regulatory body and a public register, your profession will be more transparent and accountable. This means greater trust from clients and employers.
  2. Enhanced Professional Credibility: The visual mark and public register will boost your professional credibility, making it easier for you to showcase your qualifications and expertise.
  3. Improved Job Prospects: Higher standards and recognition can lead to better job opportunities and career growth. Employers will be more inclined to hire PSWs who meet these rigorous standards.
  4. Support and Protection: The complaints resolution process and the fund for therapy and counseling ensure that both PSWs and clients are supported and protected.

What is the Registration Process?

Steps to Register with the New HSPCOA Regulatory Body

  1. Application Submission: Complete the appropriate application form for your class of registration and submit it electronically through the Authority's Registration Portal on their official website.
  2. Acknowledgment: Receive an acknowledgment from the Authority within 15 days, indicating whether the application is complete or requires additional information.
  3. Assessment: The Authority will assess the application and supporting documents. This may include competency assessments if applicable.
  4. Decision: The Authority will make a decision on the registration within 30 days of receiving a complete application, although some assessments may take longer.
  5. Payment of Fees: Pay the applicable registration fees as determined by the Authority.

Is registration Mandatory or Voluntary?

Registration with the Authority is voluntary.  You might be wondering why registering is optional and not a must-do. Well, the government wants to balance the need for safe, skilled, and ethical care with the need for flexibility in our healthcare system. Their goal is to prevent the registration process from shaking things up too much.

Even though you don't have to register to provide personal support services, there are some situations where being registered might be required. Plus, it's highly likely that employers will decide to make registration a part of their hiring policies, so if you haven't yet registered, you'll probably need to over the course of the next few months as a condition of your employment.

When Can you Apply?

The new regulations kick in on December 1, 2024. You can start filling out the online application form this fall.

Which Pathway is Right for You?

There are four ways to become a registered Personal Support Worker (PSW) with HSCPOA:

  1. Ontario PSW Education:
    • If you graduated from an Ontario PSW program that meets the Ministry of Colleges and Universities' standards and received your certificate (diploma or completion) on or after July 1, 2014, this is your path!
  2. Employed as a PSW in Ontario:
    • If you’re currently working or have worked as a PSW (or equivalent) in Ontario within the last three years, you’re eligible for this pathway.
  3. Labour Mobility:
    • If you’re already registered with one of the following, you can apply through this pathway:
      • British Columbia Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry
      • Alberta Health Care Aide Directory
      • Nova Scotia Continuing Care Assistant Registry
  4. Competency Assessment:
    • If you don’t have Ontario PSW work experience but are internationally educated or trained in Canada outside of Ontario, this pathway is for you. You’ll need to complete a competency assessment.

What Documentation and Evidence is Required?

  • Education: Proof of successful completion of a health-related program (diploma, certificate, etc.).
  • Good Character: Evidence of good character as determined by the Authority.
  • Language Proficiency: Demonstration of reasonable fluency in English or French through education, work experience, or formal testing.
  • Competency Assessment: For certain pathways, an assessment to determine if the applicant meets the expected competencies.
  • Letter of Good Standing: For applicants who are members of other professional health-related oversight bodies or registries.

What about First Aid and CPR for PSWs?

While it's not government-regulated just yet, this could change in the near future. Many colleges and employers already require PSWs to have Standard First Aid and CPR BCLS (Basic Life Support CPR) certification to complete their programs or to be employed.

Best Types of First Aid & CPR Certifications for PSWs:

First Aid and CPR certification ensures that PSWs are ready to act swiftly in case of any adverse events. This training also supports the therapeutic relationship between the PSW and the client, as clients and their families can trust that the PSW is well-prepared to handle emergencies

  • CPR BCLS (Basic Life Support CPR):
  • This certification is highly recommended for PSWs. It covers essential skills like performing CPR on adults, children, and infants, using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), and managing choking emergencies. It's a healthcare provider level certification instead of a typical "civilian" level. PSWs have a higher standard of care and they're responsible for caring for vulnerable populations.  
  • Specialized care tasks such as ostomy care, oxygen administration, trach/ventilator care, tube feeding, and wound care require a high level of vigilance and preparedness for potential complications.
  • Standard First Aid:
  • This course typically includes CPR training and covers a broader range of emergency situations, such as bleeding, shock, fractures, and more.
  • Standard First Aid and CPR certification can significantly enhance a PSW's ability to handle various day-to-day tasks with confidence and competence. For instance, in Alzheimer's and dementia care, knowing how to respond to emergencies like choking or sudden cardiac events can be life-saving.
  • Similarly, when assisting with ambulation, transfers, or exercises, a PSW trained in standard first aid can better manage falls or injuries, ensuring the safety and well-being of their clients. This training also better equips PSWs to handle emergencies during bathing, dressing, or providing bladder and bowel care, where quick and effective responses are crucial.

Being Standard First Aid & CPR BLS certified not only boosts your employability but also equips you with the skills to provide the best care possible.

Wrapping It Up: It's an exciting time for the PSW profession!

Staying informed is key. Remember, while registration is voluntary for now, it’s always good to be ahead of the curve.

To keep on top of any new updates and changes, be sure to visit the official HSCPOA government website.

And if you're in Mississauga, Brampton, or Etobicoke and need to renew your First Aid and/or CPR certifications, come join us at Para CPR & First Aid. We’ve got you covered!


See Our PSW Team First Aid and CPR Training Program

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Stay on Top of Things at the Official HSCPOA Website

Stay on Top of Things at the Official HSCPOA Website

This is the place to go for the most current updates and registration process details.

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