Tips and Guide

Role of a Personal Support Worker in Canada

In Canada, a Personal Support Worker (PSW) serves as a caregiver who helps people with their daily care needs as they cope with the impacts of illness, aging, or injury. In Canada, a Personal Support Worker works under the administration of a Registered Nurse (RN) or Registered Practical Nurse (RPN).

As the Canadian healthcare system is restructuring, the demand for PSWs has reported to grow. PSWs work in hospitals and care facilities. They also work in community care homes, long-term care homes, and private homes. A PSW can provide a wide range of facilities depending on the need and condition of a patient.  A patient’s overall recovery is somewhat based on his/her interaction with a PSW.

Personal Support Worker

PSWs perform diverse roles because of their employment in different private and public sectors. They are also specified by other job titles such as:

  • Personal attendants
  • Supportive care assistants
  • Home supporters
  • Respite care worker
  • Health care aids
  • Visiting homemakers

Major Duties

Almost all job postings will include some or all of the following duties as a PSW:

  • Assisting with daily activities including toileting, bathing, dressing, mobility, and feeding
  • Cleaning the resident’s room and, making and changing bed
  • Supporting patient’s choice with regards to medication
  • Identifying and reporting changes in a patient’s conduct
  • Giving informal counseling, as required

A PSW who has a duty at the patient’s home or residence is also responsible for support with shopping, meal preparation, light cleaning, and laundry.

Qualifications and Requirements

A PSW certificate may not be a necessity but is frequently required by employers. If there is a job posting that doesn’t necessitate a PSW certification, you will most likely see a requirement for post-secondary studies in a relevant field, or a candidate’s willingness to be trained by the employer.

The job postings for PSWs often carry the following ‘buzz words’:

  • Helping with personal cleanliness
  • Household help
  • Caregiver support
  • Identify current medical conditions
  • Work with individuals with intellectual impairment and mental health issues

Working as a PSW requires you to have personal qualities and attributes as well. You can visit The National Association of Certified Personal Support Workers (NACPSW) to discover the required personality characteristics of this profession. You can include the following words in your resume for when you’re applying as a Personal Support Worker:

  • Clear and effective communication
  • Empathy
  • Regard for privacy
  • Sense of humor
  • Dedicated
  • Patient
  • Respectful

Who Employs PSWs?

PSWs have potential employment opportunities with following employers:

  • Hospitals
  • Community Care Homes
  • Long-term Care or Nursing Homes
  • Senior Homes
  • Alzheimer’s Programs
  • Social and Family Services

A PSW can also work as an independent worker or get in a private contract with a healthcare agency.


There is a significant salary gap between PSWs employed in home and community cares, and those working in a facility care. The job postings for home care show the salary range at $8-$12 per hour. For facility care, the job postings offer a compensation of $10-$16 per hour, or $22,000-$26,000 yearly. Most positions for PSWs are part-time and do not offer compensation packages.

Graduate Opportunities

The Canadian healthcare industry has shown a significant demand for PSW jobs. This is contributed by the merge of aging population and growing occurrences of chronic diseases & complex conditions. The average of a care resident is 87.2 years. By this age, many will suffer a mental issue, for example, Dementia or Alzheimer’s.

It was reported that on average, 93% of graduates found jobs after six months of graduation during the period of 2013-2015.

The evolving models of healthcare delivery ascertain that a patient’s chronic condition can be better handled either at home or in a long-term care facility. This is where a PSW’s role becomes vital. They provide support in managing chronic illnesses.