GBC and The Rekai Centres Announce Innovative Approach to PSW Education to Combat PSW Severe Staff Shortages in Long-Term Care Homes

PSW students training at The Rekai Centres, part of a provincial effort to ensure a qualified, highly trained PSW workforce

November 12, 2020 (Toronto, ON)– George Brown College and The Rekai Centres are pleased to announce an innovative approach to Personal Support Worker (PSW) education and skills training, developed to help address critical staffing shortages and prepare graduates to be workplace ready. 

Developed amid urgent calls to recruit and train more PSW professionals, the transformative approach to training will enable students to complete their clinical placements, which were impacted due to COVID-19 restrictions. Work placements at Long-Term Care Homes play a crucial role in providing practice-based work experience. The COVID-19 crisis disrupted PSW placements, delaying students’ ability to complete their studies.   

As part of addressing current gaps in clinical placement availability across the province, and to ensure students gain critical training at a time when they are needed most, George Brown and The Rekai Centres developed a first-of-its-kind Blocked Placement Model. Like a medical residency, small groups of learners are participating in intensive, immersive clinical training, four days a week, eight hours a day. Training is taking place at The Rekai Centres where students are supervised by highly specialized clinical instructors. 

During the first wave of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Rekai Centres experienced an extreme staff shortage. Sue Graham-Nutter, CEO of the Rekai Centres stated, “We needed an innovative solution to address this key issue before the second COVID-19 wave arrived in Toronto.  Over the summer months, we worked closely with George Brown’s Sally Horsfall Eaton School of Nursing to develop a first of its kind PSW Residency in Ontario. This fall, our highly trained preceptors will train 46 PSW students as they work toward graduation.”

To further support PSW training in Ontario, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Long-Term Care in partnership with Ontario Health have launched the Return of Service Program, which provides a $5,000 incentive to PSWs who graduate on or after April 1, 2020 and who commit to a six-month employment commitment in a Long-Term Care home or In-Home Care and Community Care agency.

The Rekai Centres expects to hire a significant number PSW students and will act as the Lead Employment Agency for other Long-Term Care Homes in downtown Toronto, ensuring students are provided with meaningful employment within the Long-Term Care sector. Over the last 5 years, the Rekai Centres has provided clinical placements to over 1,000 students interested in pursuing a career in Long-Term Care.

“The global pandemic severely disrupted PSW education for students and post-secondary educators. During this unprecedented time, we are pleased to partner with The Rekai Centres to prepare students for their future careers,” said Anne Sado, President of George Brown College. “Not only is this new clinical model providing students with the on-the-job experience they need to succeed, it’s also ensuring that Ontario has a stable, well-trained PSW workforce now and in the future.” 

To ensure the safety of students and residents, the model incorporates directives and recommendations from the Ontario Ministry of Long-Term Care and Public Health in response to COVID-19. 

“I applaud the hard work and efforts of the Rekai Centres and George Brown College to create this exciting new partnership that will help address a critical shortage of PSWs across the province. Over the fall, 48 PSWs will be welcomed into Rekai Centres long-term care homes, along with their clinical instructors, to learn valuable skills to provide high-quality personal care for residents,” stated Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care, in a taped video message. To view Minister Fullerton’s full message, visit:

About George Brown College 

Toronto's George Brown College prepares innovative, adaptable graduates with the skills to thrive in a rapidly changing job market. With three campuses in the downtown core, the college blends theory with experiential learning, applied research, and entrepreneurship opportunities. George Brown offers 171 full-time programs and 200 continuing education certificates/designations across a wide variety of professions to more than 31,500 full-time students, including 27 percent international students, and receives more than 65,000 continuing education registrations annually. Students can earn certificates, diplomas, graduate certificates, apprenticeships, and degrees.   


About Rekai Centres

The Rekai Centres, a non-profit, charitable corporation, currently owns and operates two Long- Term Care homes in downtown Toronto, the Rekai Centre at Sherbourne Place with 88 residents and the Rekai Centre at Wellesley Central Place with 150 residents.  The Rekai Centres also offers a Transition Care Unit supporting patients from hospital prior to their return to their home in the community.  A third Long-Term Care home, the Rekai Centre at Cherry Place (to be located at Front St and Cherry St) is being built expecting to open in 2023 with a strong focus on the needs of those living with Alzheimers and Dementia.


For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact: 

Rima Kar
External Communications Specialist
George Brown College

For The Rekai Centres
Chris McDowall