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How Much is the average PSW Salary in Canada?

How Much is the average PSW Salary in Canada?

Working as a Personal Care worker (PSW) is a great opportunity for anyone interested in working in healthcare but either doesn’t have the time (or funding) to attend nursing school. It’s a great opportunity to gain experience and many PSWs go on to become licensed practical nurses or even nurse practitioners. Even if your ultimate plan is not to continue your education, working as a PSW can not only be rewarding but there’s always demand.

Depending on where you’re working you can quickly find PSW jobs in nursing jobs, hospitals, and private care. And while PSW is used to describe someone who provides personal assistance to daily activities like grooming, cooking and even companionship, the overall goal is to support a patient’s independent living so they can function in society.

Since personal care providers are not regulated (such as other types of nurses) the overall responsibility of the role depends on each province and territory - along with what education is required. However, there’s no officially recognized certification or credential even though several colleges offer courses and certificates. To become a PSW you need to make sure you don’t have a criminal record and you’ve been immunized to communicable diseases and screened for tuberculosis.

While PSW is a common abbreviation for personal support worker, across Canada slightly different names are used for the same (or similar) job. Here’s a list of similar roles, along with the provinces and territories that use them:

  • Continuing Care Assistant (CCA) - Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan
  • Health Care Aide - Alberta, Manitoba
  • Health Care Assistant (HCA) - British Columbia, Yukon
  • Home Care Assistant - Quebec
  • Home Support Worker (HSW) - Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, PEI
  • Personal Care Attendant (PCA) - New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Personal Care Worker (PCW) - Nova Scotia
  • Personal Support Worker (PSW) - New Brunswick, Ontario, Northwest Territories, Nunavut
  • Residential Care Worker (RCW) - PEI
  • Nursing Assistant
  • Nurses’ Aide

 An Overview of PSW Wages in Canada

The average PSW salary in Canada is around $38,000 or $19.50/hour - this is based on a workday of 7.5hours. If you’re just starting your PSW career then you can expect a bit lower at $32,000 ($16.50/hour) while a more experienced support worker can earn as much as $47,000 ($24/hour).

Overall, where you end up working will determine a lot about how much you’re paid. Generally, in hospitals, you’ll earn a bit more - but there’s also less demand. The most common placement is in long-term care facilities. Here’s a quick overview of demand:

  • Hospitals (about 7%),
  • Long-Term Care (about 57%), and
  • Community (about 36%)

To help break things down we’ve compiled a list of the average salary figures based on salary survey data collected directly from employers and anonymous employees via nurse avenue, indeed, and talent.

PSW Salary in Canada by Province

As mentioned above the overall average PSW salary is $19.50/hour. Exactly how much you can expect to earn really depends on where you’re working and what province you're in. As you can see in the chart below - there’s quite a big pay difference.

For example, the PSW salary in Ontario, B.C., and Alberta are relatively the same - averaging at around $20.88/hour (or $40,716/annually) whereas the PSW salary in Quebec, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland & Labrador averages a bit lower at $16.81/hour (or $32779.5/annually). The lowest PSW salaries are found in Manitoba, New Brunswick, and P.E.I. at only $14.88/hour (or 29022/annually). 

However, if you don’t mind long winters and you’re looking for a unique experience that can help you save money/pay off debts then you might be interested to head up north. The average PSW salary in Nunavut, Yukon, and Northwest Territories is $26.91/hourly (or $52,475/annually) which is almost $7 more an hour when compared to the overall average PSW salary in Canada. If you’re really looking to get a good hourly wage then Yukon might have the best wages at $30.75/hour.

Keep in mind that if you’re new to personal support work then you can expect to make a few dollars less and of course - if you have experience under your belt then you can easily earn $3-$5 more than the average PSW wages.

Average PSW Salary Chart

Province 

Average Annual Salary 

Average Hourly Salary 

B.C.

$21.65

$42,217

Ontario 

$20.50 

$39,975

Alberta  

$20.50 

$39,975

Quebec

$16.75

$32,662

Manitoba 

$15.15

$29,542

Saskatewan 

$17.15

$33,442

Nova Scotia 

$16.15

$31,492

New Brunswick

$14.75

$28,762

P.E.I 

$14.75

$28,762

Newfoundland & Labrador 

$17.20

$33,540

Nunavut

$24.99

$48,730

Yukon

$30.75

$59,962

Northwest Territories

$25

$48,750

PSW Overtime Pay

The chart above doesn’t include any overtime or holiday pay. If you work nights, holidays, or more than 7.5 hours you can expect to earn more. On average, a PSW can earn an extra $325 to $500 for bonuses. You can likely earn more than the average overtime pay if you’re always working holidays and more than 37.5 hours a week. While overtime rates depend slightly by province typically you’ll earn 1½ times your regular rate of pay (time and a half).

If you’re being paid $19.50/hour and work overtime you’d bump your hourly wage up to $29.25 (19.50 x 1.5 = $29.25)! Overtime kicks in at different times - again depending on your province, contract and location - in some provinces you have to work over 37.5 hours/week, other provinces are at 40/hour/week and sometimes it has to be over 44 hours/week.

PSW Salary (Ontario)

Currently, Ontario has one of the highest demands for PSWs in Canada. Here’s a breakdown of the PSW Salary in Ontario comparing locational settings:

A Day in the Life of a PSW

If you’re new to personal care work and would like to see a typical day in the life of a PSW check out this vlog from Michelle Victoria. While this was recorded during the pandemic it gives great insight into what you expect.



Conclusion 

The average PSW salary across Canada comes to around $19.50/hour or $38,000 with no overtime and a 7.5 workday. If you work 40 hours a week or even 44 hours then you’re wage would increase accordingly. Likewise, if you can work overtime a few times in a month or pick up extra shifts on holidays then you quickly earn closer to $42-44k annually.


If you’re looking for new opportunities and to earn more money without getting further qualifications/education then take a look heading to the territories especially Yukon who have higher hourly wages. 

 

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