Hon. Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario
Toronto ON M7A 1A1
Dear Premier Ford,
As a resident of Ontario and on behalf of all of the Personal Support Workers of Ontario, I am writing to urge the Government of Ontario to consider the proposal from the Ontario Personal Support Workers Association (OPSWA), for self-regulation. The OPSWA has proposed to assume the regulatory and professional protection responsibilities (title protection, professional development and education) for the Personal Support Worker (PSW) in Ontario. In conjunction, the OPSWA has partnered with the Personal Support Workers Institute of Canada to house public protection mechanisms and complaints regarding the PSW.
The OPSWA is the only provincial professional association representing PSWs in Ontario. It has more than 43000 members in an active, engaged community. They are the voice of their members and are best to govern and professionalize the industry. The Personal Support Worker Institute of Canada, the PSWIoC is a non-profit corporation that has been established to house the regulatory functions required for this profession. The PSWIoC operates under a wholly separate voluntary board of directorship designed to ensure public oversight and protection. The institute will adjudicate on member disciplinary and public protection issues. Together these bodies would work in concert to create a ‘red seal’ for the PSW and people of Ontario.
This regulatory model would provide the PSW profession with the stabilizing element that is currently lacking. This would make PSWs equal members in health teams, protect their education investments while offering the public the necessary protections and oversights. This would also encourage former PSWs return to the profession while not burdening tax payers with any additional costs.
Between July 12, 2020 and July 14, 2020, the OPSWA conducted a survey asking PSW’s if they would prefer the College of Nurses (CNO) to regulate them professionally, or an Ontario PSW College as OPSWA has proposed. The results were clear, the majority of the PSWs of Ontario are in favour of an independent regulatory model.
We urge the Ontario government to consider the concerns PSWs in Ontario have with the concept of CNO regulating our industry:
1) It would be a conflict of interest – as nurses are responsible for delegating to the Personal Support Worker this relationship must not extend to adjudication of professional conflicts.
a. PSWs seeking professional remedy would be forced to seek this remedy from their superiors (Nurses) – it is incorrect for a supervising profession to have the ability to discipline their subordinates (the PSW) and to threaten career decisions. (I.e. cannot have Doctors deciding who should be a nurse).
2) The Personal Support Workers professional association, the OPSWA, have already built the necessary structures to house and to carry out regulatory functions.
3) Personal Support Workers would face financial hardship in paying fees to those who employ and supervise them.
4) The RNAO president is openly hostile to the Personal Support Worker and is on record stating that fact – this has introduced an element of bias that the PSW can no longer professionally tolerate. This has further eroded the trust between these professions (June 1st).
5) This move will drive more PSWs from the profession as oversight of their profession will move outside the professional control of the PSWs.
6) The Personal Support Workers would be disproportionately larger than the other categories of nurses – the profession is unconvinced that the body would be impartial.
7) The College of Nurses is already overwhelmed.
8) Governance failure: the failure of the CNO was made apparent with the activities of Elizabeth Wetlaufer who murdered a number of LTC victims across Ontario. PSWs are concerned that association with this body would negatively impact the public perception of the profession.
9) CNO applicants DO NOT meet the public safety requirements needed by the OPSWA.
10) OPSWA self-regulation is already endorsed by the Canadian Nursing Association.
11) Ontario PSWs want to be regulated by their own regulatory college and not the College of Nurses
As the government continues to assess the situation in our Long Term Care homes, the relation of PSWs is paramount to future success. It is critical that PSWs are part of the solution and are able to contribute to any changes to these facilities. The regulation of PSWs through OPSWA will provide new accountability to this system, save money for taxpayers, and protect our most vulnerable citizens, all while professionalizing our industry and protecting workers.
Premier, in closing, I would like to thank you again for your continued leadership during this crisis. The OPSWA has lost seven PSWs since April and PSWs have and continue to bear the heaviest burden of this battle
A Concerned Personal Support Worker (PSW)