Innovative partnership for the CEPEO and the UCPR

On February 7, 2024, the Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario (the “CEPEO”) and the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (the “UCPR”) announced an innovative partnership between the école des adultes Le Carrefour and the Prescott and Russell Residence. This collaboration marks an important step in both organizations’ commitment to education and community well-being…. Continue reading

This article was originally published on the Prescott and Russell website.

On February 7, 2024, the Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario (the “CEPEO”) and the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (the “UCPR”) announced an innovative partnership between the école des adultes Le Carrefour and the Prescott and Russell Residence. This collaboration marks an important step in both organizations’ commitment to education and community well-being.

This partnership is a unique learning opportunity. It enables 21 learners enrolled at the école des adultes Le Carrefour to receive training as personal support workers in a living classroom setting, on the premises of the Prescott and Russell Residence in Hawkesbury.

“The Prescott and Russell Residence is an important resource in our community. This partnership will not only improve the quality of life of residents, but it will also provide learners with a unique perspective on community service. I would also like to thank the Government of Ontario for its financial support, which is essential to the realization of this project,” said Gilles Fournier, school board trustee.

“This partnership marks a new era in our commitment to education and the well-being of our learners. We are delighted to collaborate with the United Counties of Prescott and Russell to offer an enriching and innovative educational experience,” declared Christian-Charle Bouchard, Director of Education of the CEPEO.

The press conference unveiled the details of this unique collaboration. The école des adultes Le Carrefour and the Prescott and Russell Residence are joining forces to offer learners a unique educational experience, right in the heart of a long-term care home.

“The école des adultes Le Carrefour’s program is rooted in a long-term vision of the healthcare services in the region. By investing in applied learning and field studies, we ensure that the next generation of caregivers is committed and trained to provide high-quality long-term care,” shared Pierre Leroux, Warden of the UCPR.

“We are already seeing the results of the program: learners are confident and caring, while our residents receive highly professional, personalized care and services. When the new Prescott and Russell Residence opens its doors later this year, the program’s learners will have the opportunity to work in a modern long-term care facility that has the potential to become a model in Ontario,” said Eric Larocque, Administrator of the Prescott and Russell Residence.

The CEPEO and the UCPR eagerly anticipate the positive results of this collaboration and the impact it will have on education in our community.

Bridging the gap in senior care: Nearly $11M Living Classroom investment targets urgent workforce needs

Waterloo, Ont. – To address the critical shortage of skilled personal support workers (PSWs) and the pressing demands of Canada’s rapidly aging population, the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA), in collaboration with the Ontario Association of Adult and Continuing Education School Board Administrators (CESBA), is excited to announce the launch of an expanded Living Classroom Program with a nearly $11M investment over three years from the Ministry of Long-Term Care. 

“Our government is fixing long-term care by training, hiring and retaining thousands of health care workers to provide high-quality care for residents,” said Stan Cho, Minister of Long-Term Care. “We’re investing in programs that are building a pipeline of talent for the future and giving them more hands-on clinical training so our long-term care residents get the high-quality care they deserve.

By integrating academic excellence with real-world experience in a long-term care setting, the Living Classroom sets a new standard for personal support worker education, ensuring graduates are not just highly qualified, but also deeply connected to the mission and values of compassionate care.

“The Living Classroom is an innovative evidence-informed learning program that will provide students with an enriched educational opportunity where book-learning is coupled with learning alongside long term care staff and residents,” says Tina Mah, executive director at the RIA. “This funding to double the number of Living Classrooms will provide greater access to an Ontario-made education model to meet the unique needs of long-term care home residents.”  

The Living Classroom is an innovative education partnership model that combines theoretical learning with practical, hands-on experience, by placing the classrooms directly into long-term care (LTC) homes. The many benefits of the Living Classroom model include improved PSW recruitment and retention rates, a strengthened senior care workforce with both academic knowledge and practical expertise, and improved quality of care for older adults.

“CESBA and our school board partners are thrilled to work alongside RIA to develop the dedicated, compassionate and work-ready PSWs we need to care for seniors for many years to come,” states Paul Cox, executive director at CESBA. “This collaboration not only leverages our combined expertise but is also a demonstration of our shared commitment to fostering innovative learning environments.”

With this investment, the Living Classroom program will:

  • Provide funding opportunities to support 20 new Living Classrooms, as well as the 20 existing locations, to enhance learning experiences and retention of PSWs. This will support the training of up to 1,300 new personal support workers by 2026.
  • Enhance and sustain collaborations, both locally and provincially, between LTC homes and education providers (colleges and adult education school boards) to integrate education into long-term care to support workforce development, with a focus on rural and northern communities.
  • Provide educational resources, training, and coaching support to LTC homes and educational institutions to enhance and develop Living Classrooms.
  • Evaluate different models of Living Classrooms and their impact on recruitment and retention of PSWs in Ontario LTC homes.

The Living Classroom model was first implemented in Ontario through a partnership with Conestoga College, the RIA and Schlegel Villages. In September 2009, the first Living Classroom opened at the Village of Riverside Glen in Guelph, followed in 2015 by a second Living Classroom at the Village at University Gates in Waterloo. Through the Ontario Centres for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care, the RIA has provided resources to promote the spread of the Living Classroom model across the province. Since then, 20 new Living Classrooms have opened in LTC homes in collaboration with public colleges and adult and continuing education school boards that offer PSW certificate programs. Many of these LTC homes report that they have experienced a positive impact on their ability to hire new team members.

This initiative is a testament to the RIA and CESBA’s commitment to enhancing care for older adults and innovation in education.

For more information, visit livingclassroom.ca/fund.


About the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging
The Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA) is a charitable, non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life and care of older adults. The RIA tackles some of the biggest issues facing an aging population by driving research and innovation to improve education and practice. The RIA develops and shares solutions that make a difference to benefit older adults everywhere. Learn more at www.the-ria.ca.

About the Ontario CLRI
The Ontario Centres for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care (Ontario CLRI) strengthen the quality of life and care for residents across the province. The Ontario CLRI is hosted at Baycrest Academy for Research and Education, Bruyère Research Institute, and the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging, and is funded by the Ministry of Long-Term Care with a mandate to be a resource for the sector by providing education and sharing research and innovations to enhance the health and well-being of people who live and work in long-term care.

About CESBA
CESBA is a provincial, non-profit professional association that represents, advocates for and supports adult and continuing education program staff working in more than 60 school boards across Ontario. CESBA’s mission is to provide adult, alternative and continuing education program staff working in Ontario’s school boards with the knowledge, skills and abilities to assist learners in achieving their education and employment goals.

Media contact
Noel Gruber
Director, Communications and Public Relations
Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging
noel.gruber@the-ria.ca