Canada is aging.

According to Stats Canada, nearly 6-million Canadians are over 65 and more of them are choosing to stay in their own homes.

Subsequently, the number of Canadians receiving some kind of home-based health care is growing, representing about 8% of Canada’s population. 

With the national population aging rapidly, it places a serious strain on home care providers and personal support workers who are struggling to meet the growing demand.

A job fair was held in Timmins, where local agencies are reaching out to try to recruit personal support workers.

Julianne Hardy of Access Better Living says their organization is one of those agencies looking for staff.

"We do have a shortage of PSWs, as do many agencies province-wide, we are in search of PSWs. We hire part time and we hire casual." said Hardy.

Access Better Living is one of three home care providers in Timmins taking part in a job fair hosted by the North East Local Health Integration Network.

They are all looking to hire PSWs en masse.

Lara Bradley is a Communications Officer with the North East LHIN.

"Every day the North East LHIN delivers home and community care to about 17,000 northerners across the entire north east and we need people to deliver this care." said Bradley.

Northern communities are struggling to keep up with demand and service providers say the struggle stems from a lack of awareness.

"I think that people need to be made aware that this is a career path, that it is a possibility." said Hardy.

Jessie Robichaud is a PSW manager with CarePartners in Timmins.

"There are a lot of agencies out there looking for the exact same thing, and maybe not enough interest in people wanting to get into healthcare, or maybe they don't really know what healthcare is all about in the community." said Robichaud.

Would-be PSWs need a one-year certificate to be considered by home care providers, agencies that are almost always hiring.

"We are really busy when it comes to our RNs and our RPNs. We have a few long-term clients, but with our PSW and home care workers, all three branches are fairly busy." said Connie Goodwin of Bayshore Home Health.

This job fair is one of 15 being hosted throughout the north east this week. It's hoping to shore up the number of PSWs serving an estimated 17,000 people in the region.

If you missed the opportunity to speak with the providers in person, they say they are always hiring, as long as you've got the right certifications.