The Ontario government is connecting over a dozen underserved and growing communities with more health care workers by expanding the Learn and Stay grant. The grant, which was announced in March 2022 for students who enrol in nursing programs, will also include paramedic and medical laboratory technologist programs in priority communities.
“We recognize the staffing pressures in our hospitals, long-term care homes and health care facilities in the Northwest,” said Greg Rickford, Member of Provincial Parliament for Kenora-Rainy River. “Starting this Spring, our government is pleased to offer full tuition and education costs for eligible students enrolling in the paramedic program at Seven Generations Education Institute’s in Kenora or Fort Frances, in return for working and caring for people in our community after graduation. We are confident that innovative solutions and partnerships such as these will improve health outcomes for Northerners.”
MPP Kevin Holland states, “I’m pleased to see this program get expanded in a bold way. This initiative will add more health care professionals in Thunder Bay-Atikokan, helping to ensure everyone has access to high quality care, closer to home.”
Eligible students will receive full, upfront funding for tuition, books and other direct educational costs in return for working and caring for people in the region where they studied for a term of service after they graduate.
“Expanding Ontario’s Learn and Stay grant to include nurses, paramedics and med-techs in more underserved and growing communities is another innovative solution that’s connecting people to care, closer to home,” said Premier Doug Ford. “It’s also one more way we’re making sure that all Ontarians in every corner of the province, no matter where they live, have more convenient access to the care and support they need.”
Grant applications for the 2023-24 academic year open this spring, targeting 2,500 postsecondary students who in enrol in the following programs and regions:
- Nursing programs in northern, eastern and southwestern Ontario
- Medical laboratory technologist/medical laboratory sciences programs in northern and southwestern Ontario
- Paramedic programs in northern Ontario
“This is a historic investment in our students and in the future of our health care workforce in Ontario,” said Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “By providing targeted financial incentives to encourage students to learn and work in priority communities, the expanded Learn and Stay grant will ensure that our health care professionals get the training they need to make immediate impacts in local hospitals, long-term care homes and other health care facilities after they graduate.”
With more than 12,000 new nurses registering to work in Ontario last year – a record breaking year – and another 30,000 nurses studying at a college or university, the expanded Learn and Stay grant will continue to increase the number of health care workers providing care to people, closer to home.
“We know the status quo isn’t working, so we need to move forward with bold initiatives to add more health care professionals in Ontario and especially in rural and remote communities,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Expanding this grant beyond nursing, to include two additional health care roles in high demand will help ensure that Ontarians, no matter the size of their community, will receive the care they need in their communities.”
The government continues to take action to build up the province’s health care workforce to ensure patients can access the health care they need when they need it, no matter where they live.