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Conestoga College gets $4.85M from Ontario to train long-term care assistants

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The Ontario government says it is giving Conestoga College $4.85 million to train a plethora of new long-term care home assistants.

It says the money will be used to provide free training for 500 people including 475 jobseekers.

Read more: Long-term care minister says Ontario taking action to address problems contained in COVID-19 report

“Our government is committed to modernizing long-term care and this includes having the staff we need to support our most vulnerable,” Long-Term Care Minister Dr. Merrilee Fullerton stated.

“This is in addition to the training programs we’re investing in through Ontario’s public colleges, private career colleges and school boards [that] will graduate up to 16,500 new PSWs in the next year.”
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Those who enroll in the project will get seven weeks of training, which will include a two-week paid placement at a long-term care provider.

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“The Long-Term Care Home Assistant program will address the urgent need for trained staff in LTC homes across Ontario while providing opportunities for laid-off workers to gain skills that will allow them to return to the workforce and make positive contributions to the health and well-being of their community,” Conestoga president John Tibbits said.

A total of 3,760 long-term care residents and 11 staff have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic hit.

Read more: ‘Too slow, too late’: Ford gov. received months of warnings about long-term care before second wave

Fullerton said the deaths of residents and staff in long-term care homes must not be in vain at a press conference on Monday.

The Ontario Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission called for an overhaul of the sector in its final report, delivered to the government Friday night.

The 322-page report said the long-term care sector was not properly prepared for a pandemic, which was then made worse by the Ontario government’s “slow response” when COVID-19 first hit the province.

“Many of the challenges that had festered in the long-term care sector for decades — chronic underfunding, severe staffing shortages, outdated infrastructure and poor oversight — contributed to deadly consequences for Ontario’s most vulnerable citizens during the pandemic,” the commissioners wrote.

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-With files from Canadian Press and Global News’ Jess Patton

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