Supportive Care Assistant Microcredential

22 weeks Microcredential


Length of Study: Six-weeks online training, up to 16 weeks of paid work placement (280 - 560 hrs)
Start Date: Flexible
Cost: Free tuition


The Supportive Care Assistant Program is a new free microcredential developed to address the labour shortages in the healthcare sector. The program allows students to discover a new career, gain work experience, and make a difference in their community.

The microcredential includes six weeks of online training, followed by up to 16 weeks of paid work placement. Students are eligible to apply for a $1,000 bursary during the work placement to help cover the costs of child or dependant care. Additionally, upon completion of the program students who further their education can receive a $5,000 stipend to help pay for tuition while completing a Personal Support Worker certificate program.

The program is funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program and is part of CICan’s Building Capacity in Long-term Care project.

Role of a Supportive Care Assistant

The microcredential includes a paid work placement in a home care, community care, or long-term care setting. Students will gain experience to help them prepare for a career in the sector while providing much needed support to long-term and home care staff. As a supportive care assistant, the student will assist certified Personal Support Workers and the health care team to support clients. The role involves performing non-clinical activities which could include:

  • Assisting with meals
  • Assisting with cleaning and disinfecting
  • Stocking materials required by clients and health care staff
  • Making clients’ beds, cleaning their rooms and other areas
  • Providing companionship, comfort, and support
  • Assisting with moving about and accompanying clients as they move about
  • Participating in activities with clients

Minimum mandatory admission requirements:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Must be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or person who has been granted refugee status in Canada (international students cannot register)
  • Legally entitled to work in Canada according to the relevant provincial legislation and regulations
  • For English first language speakers, students must provide proof of proficiency as determined by the college or institute (Grade 10 English (most provinces) or college admission testing may be used as an equivalency)
  • For English as a second language speakers, students must provide proof of English language skills (IELTS 6.0; CLB 6; CEFR B2) or equivalency as determined by the college or institute
  • OSSD or equivalent, ENG4C or ENG4U

Additionally, students should:

  • Have an interest in working with older adults and other people requiring assistance
  • Be able to communicate effectively and have strong interpersonal skills
  • Be friendly, flexible, and able to provide warm encouragement
  • Have regular access to a PC or MAC computer with an internet connection and recent versions of Google Chrome or Internet Explorer installed
  • Have basic computer skills
  • Have access to transportation for work placement(s)
  • Be available to work shifts (evenings/nights/weekends)
  • Be physically able to stand/walk with some bending, twisting, and lifting

Note: Additional requirements related to the work placement may include a criminal record check and proof of certain immunizations. Students may be exposed to communicable diseases during their work placement.

There is no cost for tuition or to register for the Supportive Care Assistant Program. Bursaries are available for dependent care during the student’s work placement. Students may be expected to cover certain costs associated with the placement including a criminal record check or other employment requirements (ex. immunizations, appropriate clothing or footwear).


The six-week online training is divided into learning modules and will prepare students for their role as a supportive care assistant.

Modules include: Professionalism; Client and Family-Centered Assistance; Communication; Supportive Assistance, and Infection Control and Safety. There is also a module related to the student’s work placement that will be completed before, during, and after their placement. Each module will take approximately 20 hours to complete and can be done at the student’s pace.

After completing the required modules, students will be connected to an employer who will provide between 280 to 560 hours of paid employment.

Once they have successfully completed all the requirements, students will be granted a microcredential certificate. The student may wish to further their studies to become a fully credentialed Personal Support Worker. If they choose to do so, they may receive recognition for the microcredential towards the new training. Please note that the student would have to meet the admission requirements for that program.

Module 1 Professionalism

As a supportive care assistant, it is important to understand your role within the interprofessional team. You will engage with the client and interprofessional team members to support the client's well-being by demonstrating professionalism, accountability and confidentiality to the client, families, interprofessional team members, and employers. This module provides the background information and skills needed to provide professional client-centred assistance. 

Module 2 Client and Family-Centred Assistance

As a supportive care assistant, you will demonstrate respect for the clients and families you work with by providing client and family-centred supports. This module provides the background information and skills to provide supportive client-centred care. You will reflect on your own attitudes, beliefs, skills, knowledge, and actions and understand how this may impact the assistance you provide through exploring the concepts in this module. 

Module 3 Communication
As a supportive care assistant, you will demonstrate inclusive practice skills when interacting with clients, families, and other interprofessional team members. This will involve respecting the clients' beliefs, values, and rights while responding to situations with honesty, humility, and integrity. You will also begin to understand the importance of communication and relaying information appropriately. This module provides the background information, skills, and effective communication techniques to provide inclusive client-centred support. You will learn about the importance of clear, respectful communication, including the client, family, and interprofessional team members. You will reflect on your own attitudes, beliefs, skills, knowledge, and actions and understand the impact of the assistance you provide in this role. 

Module 4 Supportive Assistance
In this module, you will learn how to provide personal support as part of your role of supportive care assistant. You will learn how to practice safe and supportive assistance to promote client independence. Through lessons, demonstration videos, and practice at home, you will implement the proper supportive assistance techniques as per your role.

Module 5 Infection Control and Safety
In this module, you will learn how to demonstrate knowledge of the chain of infection related to disease and transmission. Through lessons, demonstration videos and practice at home, you will be able to implement proper use of personal protection equipment (PPE) to support your adherence to the guidelines and policies in various health care settings. As a supportive care assistant, you need to know how to identify and respond to safety hazards and unsafe situations when dealing with your clients.