Sudbury

Overworked and undervalued, a crisis for personal support workers

A recent survey shows that personal support workers (PSW) in Sudbury are in crisis. The results are alarming and should be a warning sign to anyone that employs PSWs, says Reggie Caverson, the executive director of Workforce Planning for Sudbury & Manitoulin, which conducted the survey.

More than 50 per cent say they've experienced violence in the workplace

The survey done by Workforce Planning for Sudbury & Manitoulin shows Sudbury is facing a personal support worker crisis. (CBC )

A recent survey shows that personal support workers (PSW) in Sudbury are in crisis.

The results are alarming and should be a warning sign to anyone who employs PSWs, says Reggie Caverson, the executive director of Workforce Planning for Sudbury & Manitoulin, which conducted the survey.

Nearly 80 PSWs in Greater Sudbury answered the survey and many of them feel undervalued, underpaid and overworked, said Caverson.

According to the survey, close to 90 per cent reported dealing with difficult clients and 54 per cent said they've been injured while at work. Caverson says the survey also showed that many PSWs deal with safety issues, heavy workloads and verbal abuse.

"Most of us never experience that in our workplace, but you wouldn't expect that in a healthcare facility or in a long term care facility that the numbers would be so high but they were experiencing a whole range of different kinds of challenges every day that they went to work," Caverson said.

She says many PSWs say they're planning on leaving their jobs within five years.

"We're going to experience a shortage. We've already heard from various employers saying that they're having challenges finding PSWs and every single employer that we have talked to said they're absolutely hiring in the next 12 months," said Caverson. 

"But we've heard from both of our local colleges that were offering PSW programs that enrolments have been declining."

Caverson says Workplace Planning for Sudbury & Manitoulin plans to connect with employers to talk about solutions to help mitigate the challenges.

with files from Angela Gemmill

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