Ontario Training More Health Care Workers at Indigenous Institutes, including Seven Generations Education Institute
TORONTO — The Ontario government is investing $34 million over four years to increase enrolment in nursing and personal support worker (PSW) programs at six Indigenous Institutes. Funding will support Indigenous Institutes to provide culturally responsive education and training pathways for learners to prepare for careers as registered nurses, registered practical nurses or PSWs.
“By expanding enrolment in PSW and nursing programs at Indigenous Institutes, our government is ensuring learners continue to have access to culturally relevant, high-calibre education, training and supports,” said Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “Providing additional pathways to health care education close to home will also result in more nurses and PSWs who are training, working and staying in their communities.”
This investment will help participating Indigenous Institutes expand existing programs or create new ones to support the training of approximately 340 practical nurses, 60 registered nurses and 400 PSWs over four years.
Funding will directly support:
- Development of new programs or expansion of existing programs to support enrolment increase for nursing and PSW students.
- Student subsidies for those enrolled in nursing or PSW programs at their Indigenous Institute, which may include tuition, textbooks, childcare and costs related to clinical education. This includes a one-time subsidy for students who previously enrolled but are still in the program as of January 1, 2022.
- Enhancement of Indigenous knowledge and language in students learning.
- Six Indigenous Institutes will receive funding to increase enrolment in their nursing and PSW programs: Anishinabek Educational Institute, First Nations Technical Institute, Kenjgewin Teg, Oshki-Pimache-O-Win: The Wenjack Education Institute, Seven Generations Education Institute and Six Nations Polytechnic.
- Since 2018, enrolment at Indigenous Institutes has increased by 43 per cent.
- The Ontario government expanded the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) for eligible programs at Indigenous Institutes in 2021.
- Investing in nursing education supports the government’s plan to fix long-term care and the Long-Term Care Staffing Plan. At the centre of this plan, the hours of direct care for residents in long-term care will be increased to an average of four hours per day by 2024-25 to meet the complex, diverse needs of long-term care residents, including Indigenous peoples across Ontario. To implement this initiative, the government is making overall investments of $1.9 billion annually by 2024-25.
- To strengthen the health and long-term care workforce, Ontario is investing $342 million, beginning in 2021-22, to add over 5,000 new and upskilled registered nurses and registered practical nurses as well as 8,000 personal support workers. In addition, Ontario is investing $57.6 million, beginning in 2022–23, to hire 225 nurse practitioners in the long-term care sector.
“Our government has a plan to fix long-term care and a key part of that plan is improving staffing and care. This investment will support training for hundreds of PSW and nursing students at six Indigenous Institutes so they can deliver the high-quality care residents need and deserve.”
– Paul Calandra
Minister of Long-Term Care
“As a former nurse with experience working in northern communities, I know that Indigenous people have faced barriers to accessing effective and culturally safe health, mental health and addictions care. Events like the pandemic and confirmation of graves at Indian Residential School sites have greatly increased the demand for these services. By increasing enrolment in nursing and PSW programs at Indigenous Institutes, we will help ensure culturally appropriate supports continue to be available in the future.”
– Greg Rickford
Minister of Indigenous Affairs
“There is an urgent need for more nurses and PSWs who are training, working and staying in their communities. Indigenous Institutes have unique capacities to provide pathways to health care education that link our learners to community health care employers. This funding is critically important as we collectively work to recover from a global pandemic while continuing to create positive paths forward from our collective experience of inter-generational trauma and loss of language and culture.”
– Rebecca Jamieson
Chair, Indigenous Institutes Consortium and President and CEO, Six Nations Polytechnic