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Quebec to launch fast-track program to train 1,000 home care workers

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Quebec is launching another fast-track training program, hoping to train 1,000 new home-care workers by this fall -- but some are concerned that cutting corners will affect the quality of care.

The program aims to help boost home-care services in Quebec as the population ages.

People who want to become home-care workers can enrol in an accelerated training program paid for by the government.

"We are putting a lot of money. That's $12,000 per person for five months," said Health Minister Christian Dube.

It's similar to another program Quebec rolled out in 2020, fast-tracking the training of 10,000 orderlies to help during the pandemic.

The new home-care workers would only receive 705 hours of training instead of the usual 870 hours.

CSN union president Caroline Senneville said there's concern workers who lack enough training could face difficulties in patients' homes.

"They could be aggressive because of mental health problems or because they have Alzheimer's or things like that, even in the early stages," she said.

Opposition parties all agree attracting more people to work in home care is urgent.

"The huge challenge of the aging population in Quebec needs a lot of measures," said Quebec Solidaire co-spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois. "It's going to be a big challenge for us as a society."

Interim Liberal leader Marc Tanguay said it won't solve the underlying problem.

"So far, with respect to those types of programs, we haven't seen any tangible results in order to address the labour shortage and the crisis," he said.

Dube disagreed.

"We've seen it has been very positive with the PAB [orderlies] when we train 10,000 people, we still have 7,500 of them that are still in the system," he said.

Properly training workers is a big part of retaining them, said Senneville.

"We have to tackle this not only as a short-term solution, but also mid-term and long-term solution," she said.

The CSN said it would like the government to commit to ongoing training for these new hires so they can eventually complete the total number of training hours and hopefully stick with the profession.  

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