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Health & Wellness

Specialist High Skills Major – Health & Wellness

The Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) in Health and Wellness enables students to build a foundation of sector-focused knowledge and skills before graduating and entering apprenticeship training, college, university, or an entry-level position in the workplace.

Where local circumstances allow, boards may elect to offer one or more variants of the SHSM in a given sector, each with a particular area of focus. This SHSM may be designed to have a particular focus – for example, on health care, fitness, or child care and family services. This focus is achieved through the selection of the four major credits in the bundle.

Bundle of nine Grade 11 and Grade 12 credits

These credits make up the bundle:

  • four health and wellness major credits that provide sector-specific knowledge and skills. The four courses must include at least one Grade 11 and one Grade 12 credit, and may include one cooperative education credit related to the sector. (This cooperative education credit would be additional to the two that are required in the bundle; see below);

  • three other required credits from the Ontario curriculum, in each of which some expectations must be met through a contextualized learning activity (CLA) for the health and wellness sector. The three credits include:

    • one in English;1

    • one in mathematics; and

    • one in science or social sciences and humanities (or a cooperative education credit related to the sector, which would be additional to the two cooperative education credits required in the bundle; see below);

  • two cooperative education credits that provide authentic learning experiences in a workplace setting, enabling students to refine, extend, apply, and practise sector-specific knowledge and skills.

Note: A compulsory English credit is required in Grade 11 and in Grade 12 for graduation with an OSSD. Schools may determine whether the CLA, required for the SHSM bundle of credits, is completed in the Grade 11 or Grade 12 English course

Sector-recognized certifications and/or training courses/programs

This SHSM sector requires students to complete a specified number of compulsory and elective sector-recognized certifications and/or training courses/programs, as indicated in the following table. NOTE: Where an item in the table is capitalized, it is the proper name of the specific certification or training course/program that is appropriate for the SHSM. Where an item is lower cased, it is the name of an area, type, or category of training for which specific certifications or training courses/programs should be selected by the school or board. The requirements are summarized in the table below.

Four (4) compulsory

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Level C – includes automated external defibrillation (AED)

infection control

Standard First Aid

Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) – generic (i.e., not site-specific) instruction


Three (3) electives from the list below

advanced training in a technique (e.g., feeding, assistance, airway management, IV insertion)

allergy awareness

ambulation, lifting, and transfers

animal first aid


behaviour management

child safety and injury prevention

communication skills

concussion awareness

conflict resolution

customer service

ethical considerations

equity and inclusion

fire safety and fire extinguisher use


Food Handler Certification

group dynamics


lab practices

leadership skills

marine and wilderness first aid

medical terminology

Mental Health First Aid

non-violent crisis intervention

personal training

personality inventory

portfolio development

project management

safe body mechanics

safe food handling – basic

sign language

specialized care (e.g., diabetes, dementia, nutrition)

sterile techniques

stress management techniques


waste management

wrapping and taping for performance and injury

dietary considerations

anti-oppression and allyship training



Experiential Learning & Career Exploration

Experiential learning and career exploration opportunities relevant to the sector might include the following:

  • one-on-one observation of a cooperative education student at a placement in the agriculture sector (an example of job twinning)

  • a day-long observation of a skilled tradesperson in the agriculture sector (an example of job shadowing)

  • a one- or two-week work experience with a member of an industry association or a professional in the sector (an example of work experience)

  • a volunteer experience in a long-term care facility

  • an experience coaching an elementary school student in reading as part of a reading buddy program, or other curricular or extracurricular activities

  • assisting in an exercise class in a long-term care facility

  • attendance at a health and wellness sector career fair

Sector Partnered Contextualized Experience (SPCE)

Innovative, Creativity & Entrepreneurship Training (ICE)
The ICE training in SHSM programs will allow students to understand the world from the perspectives of others, generate new ideas, and give students the confidence to develop strategies to implement and sustain their ideas while considering the impacts and consequences their innovation has on the world around them.


Sector-delivered Contextualized Coding
(e.g. SHSM-Agriculture:  GPS, GIS, Computer-controlled Devices with Ontario Federation of Agriculture)


Sector-delivered Contextualized Mathematical literacy
(e.g. SHSM-Horticulture and Landscaping: estimating, measuring, and budgeting with Landscape Ontario)

Reach Ahead Experiences

Students are provided one or more reach ahead experiences – opportunities to take the next steps along their chosen pathway – as shown in the following examples:

  • Apprenticeship: visiting an approved apprenticeship delivery agent in the sector
  • College: interviewing a college student enrolled in a sector-specific program
  • University: observing a university class in a sector-related program
  • Workplace: interviewing an employee in the sector
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