18 Sep 2017

Message from the Registrar

The Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers’ Registrar issued the following message regarding CBC Marketplace and the role of the College as regulator.

Message from the Registrar

RE: CBC Marketplace and the role of the College as regulator

In the past week, there has been increased media attention regarding fake educational credentials. A CBC Marketplace investigation reported this story which aired on September 15, 2017. The story highlighted a number of circumstances where individuals represented themselves as having qualifications from academic institutions that were alleged to be diploma mills. CBC Marketplace made mention of some individuals who held membership in a regulatory body including the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (the College).

As the regulatory body for social workers and social service workers in Ontario, the College’s ongoing mandate is to protect the public from unqualified, incompetent and unfit practitioners. The College strives on an ongoing basis to inform the public about the importance of its role. For that reason, and in light of the CBC investigation first published on September 10, 2017, the College proactively responded to CBC Marketplace and addressed additional follow-up questions about the role of the College and its public protection mandate, our rigorous registration requirements, the College’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice and our complaints and discipline processes.

College’s Registration Requirements
Registration with the College provides assurance to the public that a member has met the College’s rigorous registration requirements and demonstrates a commitment to professional, ethical, qualified and accountable practice.

In accordance with the College’s Registration Regulation, O. Reg. 383/00 made under the Social Work and Social Service Work Act, 1998, a person must hold a degree from an accredited social work program or an equivalent program offered outside Canada and deemed as equivalent to an accredited social work program by the Canadian Association for Social Work Education in order to be registered with the College and practise as a social worker.

The College maintains strict registration processes which include a number of checks and balances to ensure that required documents are verified for all applicants.

College’s Standards of Practice
Members of the College are bound by the Standards of Practice which are organized into eight principles covering all areas of practice and set out the minimum standards for all members of the College. They are used as the basis for assessing the conduct of members in the College’s complaints and discipline processes.

College’s Complaints and Discipline Processes
The College considers and investigates reports and complaints that come to its attention regarding alleged misconduct of College members. If information comes to the College’s attention, or if a complaint is submitted regarding allegations of a member breaching the Social Work and Social Service Work Act, the Regulations or our Standards of Practice, the matter will be addressed through the College’s investigations process in which, as in all cases, due process will be followed to ensure fairness and transparency. The results of the investigation are then reviewed in order to determine what the appropriate regulatory response should be.

The College welcomes CBC Marketplace’s investigative journalism into this story, which is clearly a matter of public interest. College members and the public can remain assured that the College works diligently to fulfill its mandate of public protection through the regulation of the professions of social work and social service work in Ontario.

Sincerely,

Lise Betteridge, MSW, RSW
Registrar