Personal support worker registry ‘little more than a blacklist’: union

Union fears that online registry could lead to public forum of unfounded allegations
||Last Updated: 07/20/2011

Ontario’s proposed Personal Support Worker (PSW) registry could be a unfair and dangerous to the province’s estimated 90,000 personal support workers, according to the Canadian Auto Workers' union (CAW).

Announced in May of this year, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) said the registry will recognize the work PSWs do, “while helping to better meet the needs of the people they care for."

The service will allow PSWs the ability to provide contact information, current employment, educational background and years of experience so that employers will be better equipped to meet patient needs.

The union suggests, however, that the online registry may lead to identity theft or provide a forum for unfounded allegations, suspicions, and complaints.

“PSWs are entitled to a balanced and fair investigation from an employer through their collective agreement, and a registry should not have the right to circumvent this,” CAW National Executive Board Member and CAW Local 302 President Nancy McMurphy said in a press release.

In 2006, the Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council (HPRAC), an independent advisory committee to the health sector of the government, advised the Ontario government forgo a PSW registry. Instead, the committee suggested it develop mandatory standardized educational outcomes for PSW educational programs.

“Our Union is not aware of any pressing change that has since occurred that would suggest the HPRAC recommendation should now be rejected,” the union said in a written response to the MOHLTC. “The Registry looks like simply an expensive duplication of the criminal reference check system without the procedural safeguards of the accused under our criminal justice system.”

In January 2010, British Columbia introduced a similar registry, the first in the county. The Care Aides and Community Health Worker registry made it mandatory for publicly-funded employers in the province to only hire care aides or community health workers from the list.

Personal support workers assist with daily living tasks, such as administering medication, changing clothes, tube feedings and doing light house work.

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