MPP Rickford Announces Expansion to Learn and Stay Grant to Train More Health Care Workers in the Northwest
KENORA – The Ontario government is connecting over a dozen underserved and growing communities with more health care workers by expanding the Learn and Stay grant. The grant, which was announced in March 2022 for students who enrol in nursing programs, will also include paramedic and medical laboratory technologist programs in priority communities. Starting this Spring, eligible students, including the paramedic program at Seven Generations Education Institute’s in Kenora and Fort France will receive full, upfront funding for tuition, books and other direct educational costs in return for working and caring for people in the region where they studied for a term of service after they graduate.
“We recognize the staffing pressures in our hospitals, long-term care homes and health care facilities in the Northwest,” said Greg Rickford, Member of Provincial Parliament for Kenora-Rainy River. “Starting this Spring, our government is pleased to offer full tuition and education costs for eligible students enrolling in the paramedic program at Seven Generations Education Institute’s in Kenora or Fort Frances, in return for working and caring for people in our community after graduation. We are confident that innovative solutions and partnerships such as these will improve health outcomes for Northerners.”
“Expanding Ontario’s Learn and Stay grant to include nurses, paramedics and med-techs in more underserved and growing communities is another innovative solution that’s connecting people to care, closer to home,” said Premier Doug Ford. “It’s also one more way we’re making sure that all Ontarians in every corner of the province, no matter where they live, have more convenient access to the care and support they need.”
Grant applications for the 2023-24 academic year open this spring, targeting 2,500 postsecondary students who in enrol in the following programs and regions:
- Nursing programs in northern, eastern and southwestern Ontario
- Medical laboratory technologist/medical laboratory sciences programs in northern and southwestern Ontario
- Paramedic programs in northern Ontario
“This is a historic investment in our students and in the future of our health care workforce in Ontario,” said Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “By providing targeted financial incentives to encourage students to learn and work in priority communities, the expanded Learn and Stay grant will ensure that our health care professionals get the training they need to make immediate impacts in local hospitals, long-term care homes and other health care facilities after they graduate.”
With more than 12,000 new nurses registering to work in Ontario last year – a record breaking year – and another 30,000 nurses studying at a college or university, the expanded Learn and Stay grant will continue to increase the number of health care workers providing care to people, closer to home.
“We know the status quo isn’t working, so we need to move forward with bold initiatives to add more health care professionals in Ontario and especially in rural and remote communities,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Expanding this grant beyond nursing, to include two additional health care roles in high demand will help ensure that Ontarians, no matter the size of their community, will receive the care they need in their communities.”
The government continues to take action to build up the province’s health care workforce to ensure patients can access the health care they need when they need it, no matter where they live.
- Applications for the Learn and Stay grant will open in Spring 2023.
- The government has committed $61 million over the next three years for the Learn and Stay grant.
- To be eligible for the grant, students must:
- be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or protected person and live in Ontario
- enrol in an eligible diploma, advanced diploma, undergraduate, masters or post-graduate program in a priority region
- commit to work in the region where they studied for a minimum of six months for every year of study funded by the grant.
- Students can also apply for the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) to help pay for other costs, such as living expenses.
- The program is responsive to evolving labour market needs and could be tailored for any program, profession or region. In future years, the grant may be expanded to include more programs and regions to help respond to localized labour market needs in underserved communities in Ontario.
- As part of the Learn and Stay Grant, $81 million will be invested to expand the Community Commitment Program for Nurses for up to 1,500 nurse graduates in 2022-23 and 2023-24 to receive full tuition reimbursement in exchange for committing to practice for two years in an underserved community.