This program is designed to teach individuals to give consumers/clients and their families the care and assistance needed to live fulfilling lives in the community and in institutions. The students in this program develop a broad range of abilities which emphasize the value of their role and reflects true sensitivity and respect for the individuality of each consumer/client. Some of the personal support workers' activities include providing their clients with personal care and hygiene, household and family management, meal preparation, assisting clients with their medications, palliative and restorative activities.

The Personal Support Worker Certificate (PSW) is composed of 9 courses plus 2 field placements. This program has been designed to meet the PSW program standards set by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. Personal Support Workers work in both community and facility settings.

Information Session

New students are invited to attend an information session.

Career Opportunities

The Personal Support Worker Program is designed to give individuals the skills required to provide personal support services to clients with various needs and complement the roles of those working in the fields of nursing, social work and professional health care providers.

You will be employed to provide services to:

  • clients and their families in their homes
  • clients in long-term care facilities, retirement homes, community programs, rehabilitation centres and hospitals.

The program consists of a series of theory-based courses which will provide the student with a solid knowledge base of their clientele's needs and practical experience in various work environments.

Entry Requirements

  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma or mature student status.
  • It is recommended that students possess a good command of the English language, both written and spoken.

Previous Health Care Aid (HCA) Learning or Experinece:

Those who have previously completed a HCA program or have experience working as a HCA are required to take the Personal Support Worker certificate to meet the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care requirements. With the new requirement, HCAs may receive some credit for prior learning and experience, but will not be fully exempted from all courses in Seneca's PSW program. Prior learning and experience is assessed on an individual basis. Please contact program coordinators for more information.

Field Placement Requirements

Students participating in Field Placement will be required to obtain and keep current:

  • A completed medical form
  • A current Standard First Aid & Basic Rescuer (CPR) Level C-HCP certificate.
  • Criminal Record Check vulnerable sector screening.
  • Signed freedom of information release.
  • Mask Fit test.

Expired documentation may require a student to leave field placement and potentially not being able to continue resulting in academic and monetary loss.

Additional documentation maybe required to meet specific medical requirements of staff at some facilities.


It is your responsibility to ensure that program requirements and course prerequisites as outlined are met. Prerequisites are included for your academic protection. Knowledge of the prerequisite material is assumed by your instructor and instruction will proceed accordingly. Students lacking prerequisites not only jeopardize their own ability to succeed but present unnecessary interruption. If you lack appropriate prerequisites (or Transfer Credit for the prerequisite course) you may be asked to withdraw or transfer to a more appropriate course with the risk of academic/financial penalty.

Filter Classes: In Class     Online     Correspondence     Hybrid     Availability   

Due to COVID-19, all Part-time Studies courses are being offered online until further notice, in one of the following two formats: online virtual classroom and online self-directed. Click Availability below to see current offerings.


Foundations of Personal Support Worker Practice I

Students are introduced to the role of a Personal Support Worker within the health care team. The scope of practice is outlined to ensure safe and ethical care for clients and their families in a variety of settings. Students are challenged to reflect on their own beliefs, values, culture, religion and ethnicity and to relate these concepts to their clients.

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Providing Family Support I

This course enables student to understand the effects of illness, stress and disability on today's families. The Personal Support Worker is required to provide personal hygiene to clients of all ages. Infection prevention is discussed as it relates to providing personal care and the integumentary, urinary, digestive and immune systems are briefly introduced to enhance learning.

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The Human Body, Chronic Illness and Disease

This course introduces the student to the general affects of common disabilities, ongoing conditions and diseases. Concepts of maintenance, rehabilitation and restoration are discussed. Delegation is reviewed.

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Basic Care Lab Skills

This course allows students to review the theory and practice all of the clinical skills that they have acquired thus far. This lab helps to build confidence and prepares students for the applied setting.

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Foundations of Personal Support Worker Practice II


PSW050 - Foundations of Personal Support Worker Practice I

This course deals with aspects of safety, mobility and household management. Accident risk factors as well as safety measures are discussed. Infection control and the principles of good body mechanics are introduced. Client safety and comfort as it relates to positioning are emphasized. The concepts of rest and activity and how these two affect the client's well being are also discussed. In addition this course enables students to develop and demonstrate skills related to assisting with household activities and household management. Planning and preparing nutritious and appealing meals are explored. Special diets, cultural and religious preferences are emphasized when discussing meal preparation.

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Providing Family Support II


PSW051 - Providing Family Support I

Building on Providing Family Support I. This course includes the concepts of providing optimal support, assisting with medications and abuse. Optimal support refers to the ability to provide support to clients while encouraging their independence and promoting their dignity. The course will clarify the Personal Support Worker's level of responsibility in assisting the client with medications. Possible causes and indicators of all forms of abuse are discussed and the Personal Support Worker's responsibilities and management techniques are identified.

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Cognitive Impairment and Mental Health Issues


PSW050 - Foundations of Personal Support Worker Practice I

This course is designed to provide a basic knowledge of mental health issues in today's society. Understanding and managing of challenging behaviours in the cognitively impaired person are discussed, along with strategies for working with these challenging behaviours. Students are encouraged to reflect on their personal feelings, experiences and reactions surrounding mental health.

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Facility Field Placement


All of the following must be completed:
1. Completion of all Module 1 courses
2. Standard First Aid/CPR-C
3. A completed Seneca medical form
4. Criminal record screen (Vulnerable Sector Screening)
5. Mask Fit
6. Ministry of Labour's Health and Safety Awareness training (You must save and/or print a copy of the certificate of completion before exiting the module.) - instructor to provide more details once student is registered.

This field placement in the Personal Support Worker Program is designed to provide the student with practical experiences, which encourage the application of theory learned in the classroom. These experiences include the supervised application of knowledge and acquisition of skills. Field placement involves the use of problem solving approaches, as well as the integration of communication and role as a team member.

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Palliative Care


Completion of Module Two courses

This course allows students to discuss the concept of dying. Also students have the opportunity to examine personal beliefs about life-threatening illness, dying and death. Assisting the dying person to maintain a desired lifestyle and respecting her/his right to make decisions with regard to support are discussed. Specific approaches within the scope of the support worker to reduce discomfort/pain and ongoing pain (within the context of a plan of support or care) are also covered.

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Community Experience Practicum


1. PSW112
2. Standard First Aid/CPR-C (CPR911 or equivalent)
3. A completed Seneca medical form
4. Criminal Record Screen
5. Mask Fit

This field placement experience provides an opportunity for students to acquire the knowledge and skills to care for clients in various types of community settings.

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Communication Requirement (Choose One)

Interpersonal Communication

This course introduces necessary underlying concepts in understanding interpersonal communication. It encourages students to examine their own self-concepts, self-esteem and perception processes while learning about how these can interfere with the development of positive relationships. Students will learn the basic skills and competencies required for effective interpersonal relationships. They examine the ways in which relationships are initiated and maintained, and how they sometimes deteriorate. Finally students learn of the challenges involved in interpersonal communications.

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Interpersonal Communications


This course is a pre-requisite for SSW201, SSW212, SWL247, SWK257

This course is an introduction to the skills required to understand and improve one's own communication style thereby enhancing one's ability to consciously and effectively relate to others. Students will be expected to demonstrate an appropriate level of competence in interpersonal communication skills and self-awareness.

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Field Placement/Practicum

Students must register for a mandatory PSP001 Field Placement/Practicum Orientation online course in order to take the placement courses. On this Blackboard page you will be able to view any Announcements regarding PSW placements along with forms and documents that you may need to assist you with your field placement.

PSW112, PSW109:

Standard First Aid/CPR-C (CPR911 or equivalent) must be completed successfully prior to any field placement. Medical forms, mask fit test and police record checks and other required documentation must be completed as well, prior to field placement. Students without current documentation for the full placement period may not be able to start and may be asked to leave placement if they expire during the placement time.

Program Outcomes

PSW Program Vocational Outcomes

  1. Work within the personal support worker role in community, retirement homes, long-term care homes and/or hospital care settings in accordance with all applicable legislation and employer's job description, policies, procedures and guidelines.
  2. Act responsibly and be accountable for own actions while recognizing the boundaries of knowledge and skills within the personal support worker role that require collaboration with the clients, families, supervisors and/or other members of the interprofessional care/service team.
  3. Participate as a member of the interprofessional care/service team and maintain collaborative working relationships in the provision of supportive care in community, retirement homes, long-term care homes and/or hospital care settings.
  4. Provide client-centred and client-directed care that is based on ethical principles, sensitive to diverse client and family values, beliefs and needs, and which follows the direction of the plan of care/service plan.
  5. Establish and maintain helping relationships with clients and their families reflecting open communication, professional boundaries, employer's policies and adhering to confidentiality and privacy legislation.
  6. Identify relevant client information using basic assessment and communication skills and report and document findings in accordance with the requirements of employer policies and procedures and all applicable legislation.
  7. Promote and maintain a safe and comfortable environment for clients, their families, self and others including the implementation of infection prevention and control measures and emergency first aid procedures that are in keeping with the plan of care/service plan, employer policies and procedures, and all applicable legislation.
  8. Assist clients across the lifespan with routine activities of daily living by applying basic knowledge of growth and development, common alterations in functioning, disease prevention, health promotion and maintenance, rehabilitation and restorative care.
  9. Assist clients with medication in keeping with the direction of the plan of care/service plan and under the direction and monitoring of a regulated health professional or most accountable person and in accordance with all applicable legislation and employer's policies.
  10. Assist with household management tasks and instrumental activities of daily living in accordance with the plan of care/service plan and considering the preferences, comfort and safety of clients, families and significant others.
  11. Assist clients who are caring for dependent individuals considering client and family choices, professional boundaries and the direction of the plan of care/service plan.
  12. Identify and report situations of neglect, and potential, alleged or witnessed/actual incidents of abuse, and respond in accordance with all applicable legislation and employer's policies and procedures.
  13. Assist in the provision of culturally relevant palliative and end-of-life care to clients experiencing life threatening illness and to their families and significant others, from diagnosis through death and bereavement, and in accordance with clients' choices and the plan of care/service plan.
  14. Use identified approaches and best practices to support positive and safe behaviour in clients experiencing cognitive impairment, mental health challenges and/or responsive behaviours.

Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities July 2014


OSAP Funding Available

This program is eligible for OSAP funding.

Course load is used by OSAP to determine funding options for programs.

If you are taking 1 - 2 courses at the same time, you may be considered for part-time student grants and loans.

  • 1 course (20%)
  • 2 courses (40%)

If you are taking 3 or more courses at the same time, you may be considered for full-time student grants and loans.

  • 3 courses (60%)
  • 4 courses (80%)
  • 5 courses (100%)

To find out if you qualify and to learn how to apply, please visit the OSAP website.

For information on other awards and financial assistance, please see Financial Aid.

Credit for Prior Learning

Prior Learning Assessment

Earn college credits for what you already know!
Prior Learning Assessment is a method of assessing and recognizing learning that is equal to college level learning, but has been gained outside a traditional classroom (through work experience, volunteering, outside study, etc.). If you can prove that the knowledge you have gained meets the outcomes of a Seneca course, then credit will be awarded.

How does the PLA process work?
Prior Learning is demonstrated through a "challenge" process. The process measures learning through a variety of methods which may include tests, portfolio assessment, interviews, demonstrations, essays, and work samples. The method used will be determined in consultation with a Program Coordinator.
For more information and to determine if you are eligible for PLA, please call the Program Coordinator.

The process may take from 6 to 8 weeks.

Note: Not all courses can be challenged. For more information go to PLA website or contact your Program Coordinator.

Transfer Credit

Many students who enter Seneca College will have earned academic credits in post-secondary educational institutions which they may be able to apply toward completion of a Seneca College program.

Requests for Transfer Credit must be for a specific course and must be accompanied by an official transcript and course outline. A minimum grade of "C" (60 percent) is generally required for a course to be considered for Transfer Credit.

Download a Transfer Credit Request form. An official copy of your transcript and applicable detailed course outlines should be attached and submitted. Please note it may take 4 to 6 weeks for a Transfer Credit decision.

More Information

Please visit the Office of the Registrar.


When you meet all program requirements and become eligible for a certificate, diploma, or degree, you must inform the Registrar by completing a Graduation Application form and paying the graduation and alumni fee. Certificates, diplomas, and applied degrees are issued twice a year in the Fall (October) and Spring (June).

For further information including deadlines and fees, please visit the  Convocation website or contact the Convocation Office at 416-491-5050 ext. 77461.

Program Contacts

Jacqueline Bar
Program Assistant
416-491-5050 ext.22505

Lisa Harfield
Academic Program Manager
416-491-5050 ext.22526

For more information about this program, fill out the following form.

Information Session

New students are invited to attend an information session.