An Innovative Partnership between Collège Boréal and St. Joseph’s Health Centre of Sudbury Aims to Address Northeastern Ontario’s Personal Support Worker Shortage

An Innovative Partnership between Collège Boréal and St. Joseph’s Health Centre of Sudbury  Aims to Address Northeastern Ontario’s Personal Support Worker Shortage

Collège Boréal and St. Joseph’s Health Centre of Sudbury have teamed up for a first of its kind pilot project aiming at increasing the much-needed Personal Support Worker (PSW) capacity of long term care homes.

Recognizing that there is a critical shortage of PSWs in Northern Ontario, the School of Health Sciences at Collège Boréal and St. Joseph’s Villa have been working together since January 2018 on an innovative project allowing graduates with specific health care credentials to obtain a PSW equivalency.

Under the partnership, Collège Boréal has the responsibility to deliver a credential that enables St Joseph’s Villa to hire the graduates from targeted health care programs as PSWs. Applicants to the project must pass theoretical and practical exams that evaluate their ability to fulfil the duties of a PSW’s position. Applicants who do not pass an initial challenge exam and do not have the core competencies required for the position have to follow an intensive 32 hours of in-class and lab-based training.

Given positive preliminary results – as well as a serious PSW shortage in the North East– Collège Boréal has extended this pilot project to include Villa St. Gabriel’s Villa in Chelmsford. In addition, community partners in Hearst and Kapuskasing have also been added to the project.

This pilot project is funded by the North East Local Health Integration Network. A formal evaluation of the project will be completed at the end of March 2019.


“This partnership between Collège Boréal and St. Joseph’s Villa is a great example of how we can work with community partners to overcome challenges. By implementing innovative, tailor-made thinking to issues our communities are facing, practical and innovative solutions can be found. This initiative will certainly help to address the shortage of Personal Support Workers in Sudbury and across the province.”

Daniel Giroux, President – Collège Boréal

“On the one hand, we are facing a critical shortage of PSW workers. On the other hand, many professionals who have graduated with different health care credentials such as Developmental Service Workers, Occupational Therapy/Physical Therapy Assistants, Paramedics, and Practical Nurses are unable to find full-time jobs. This partnership gives them the opportunity to obtain the equivalent of a Personal Support Worker Program based on learning outcomes so they can be hired at one of our long-term care facilities.”

Jo-Anne Palkovits, President and CEO – St. Joseph’s Health Centre of Sudbury

“The PSW shortage has reached a crisis point and we need bold, practical solutions to respond to it. I’m proud to say that we have been working hard with our partners to make this pilot project one of them. In fact, after positive results at St. Joseph’s Villa, we are happy to announce that this pilot project will be extended to include community partners in Hearst and Kapuskasing, two areas that are experiencing significant shortages of health care professionals.”

Kim Morris, Dean of the School of Health Sciences – Collège Boréal

 Quick Facts   

 St Joseph’s Health Centre

 St. Joseph’s Health Centre owns and operates two long-term care homes; St. Joseph’s Villa in Sudbury and Villa St. Gabriel Villa in Chelmsford.

St. Joseph’s Villa is a 128-bed long-term care home providing the highest standards of resident care. Our approach to holistic care respects the unique needs and fosters the spiritual, physical and emotional well-being of each of our residents. We are a faith-based organization guided by core values of Service, Integrity, Dignity and Excellence with a focus on a culture of caring.

 Collège Boréal

Established in 1995, Collège Boréal is a French language post-secondary training and learning institution dedicated to the development and growth of French communities throughout the province.

Collège Boréal offers a wide variety of programs and services at seven campus locations and 38 access centres in 28 communities across the province. Since 1995, approximately 120,000 clients across Ontario have benefited from College Boréal’s expertise relating to post-secondary education, training programs, immigration and settlement services, as well as employment services. Furthermore, Collège Boréal has developed and implemented over 70 articulation agreements with other post-secondary institutions.

According to the Key Performance Indicators recognized by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development, Collège Boréal now holds the top-ranking position in three out of the five areas surveyed! Out of 24 Ontario colleges, Boréal has the highest student satisfaction rate, graduation rate, and graduate satisfaction rate in the province. Moreover, with 96%, Boréal ranks 3rd out of all 24 colleges in employer satisfaction!


Ronan Le Guern
Manager – Communications, writing, and Media relations
Collège Boréal
1-800-361-6673, ext. 1235

Tanya Gil-Alfau,
Executive Assistant and Board Liaison
St. Joseph’s Health Centre
Tel: 705-674-2846 ext. 2104


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