“Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) received funding from the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program for a national project, Building Capacity in Long Term Care, to address the acute labour shortages in the long-term care sector. Part of the project included working with over 600 stakeholders, including HSPs, to create the first-ever national occupational standard for personal care providers.

The standard (NOS) serves as a set of voluntary guidelines and can be used by HSP employees, HSP employers, and educators to understand what HSPs need to know to be effective in their healthcare roles. It also intends to support job seekers in better planning their career paths, employers in recruiting the right workers with the necessary skills, educators in creation of curriculum based on clear learning objectives, and workers, including those who were internationally trained, to have their skills and experience more easily assessed and recognized.

Follow this link to the National Occupational Standards for personal care providers, also found CICan’s website.

As of January 2022 there are no recognized national standards that relate specifically to PSWs or HCAs


  • Members of province and territory departments of health will be joining the national working group and together will develop the competency profile for PCP.
  • The competency profile will list the skills, knowledge and abilities needed for PCP to perform competently in the workplace.
  • The draft competency profile will be presented and discussed during various focus groups across Canada, composed of key stakeholders from the sector for feedback, prior to undergoing through a national public review and validation, to become the national occupational standard.
  • National Occupational Standards are voluntary guidelines that are developed with industry stakeholders to provide employers, educators, trainers, and job seekers with practical guidance.
  • The National Occupational Standard is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2022.

Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) is working with its members, provinces and territories, employers, workers, and other stakeholders to create a national occupational standard (NOS) for personal care providers (also called personal support worker, health care aide, and other titles).

This work is funded by the Government of Canada’s branch: Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and is part of CICan’s Building Capacity in Long-term Care project.

What is a national occupational standard?

A national occupational standard describes the skills, knowledge, and abilities required to perform the duties of a profession effectively, competently, and successfully. It serves as a point of reference and provides a comprehensive definition of what it means to work in a specific occupation.

Why are national occupational standards created?

Standards are established for a wide range of professions and help employers, job seekers, workers, students, and educators make informed decisions about hiring, skills training, and career choices. They also form the basis for national consistency and can help reduce skills gaps.

The NOS for personal care providers will help ensure every individual receiving support from these roles can count on a high level of care.

Historical Documents

Environmental Scan 2012

Promoting Mobility and Recognition: National Educational Standards for Personal Care Providers

Reference Guide 2012

Promoting Mobility and Recognition: National Educational Standards for Personal Care Providers