The Ontario government has established a Personal Support Worker (PSW) Registry. Initially affecting PSWs (and associated classifications) in home care, it is scheduled to roll out to long term care and hospitals in the coming years.
CUPE successfully fought for a seat on the Registry Steering Committee, but unfortunately, despite objections from CUPE and other labour representatives, employers and government consistently pushed the Registry in new directions for which there was no consensus. This created a number of problems:
- The Registry has been put under the leadership of an employer organization.
- There is inadequate protection of the privacy of PSWs.
- There is no fair process for the removal of PSWs from the Registry list – yet PSWs will not be able to work for publicly funded employers unless their name is on the Registry.
- The Registry also enables ‘self-directed care’. The Registry has an “optional” section on the application form where PSWs can sign up to work for private individuals who receive funding through a parallel system to Medicare. The Registry is serving to help weaken Medicare as private individuals often pay workers less with poorer quality care.
In light of these problems, CUPE Ontario and OCHU have stepped down from their seat on the PSW Registry steering committee in order to take a stand for Medicare and for the dignity of PSW workers.
To learn more about this issue, visit the CUPE Ontario website, here.