Why are social workers and social service workers regulated in Ontario? Employers sometimes ask that simple, direct question at our biannual Employer Roundtables, which provide the College and its employer stakeholders with the opportunity to engage in direct dialogue. It’s an important question because it gets to the heart of our public protection mandate.
The College was established under the Social Work and Social Service Work Act, 1998 and is accountable to the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. Like other professional regulatory bodies in Ontario, the College plays a critical role in protecting the Ontario public from incompetent, unfit and unqualified practitioners. Protecting the public interest is crucial in the delivery of a wide range of services to Ontarians but it is particularly important in the context of delivering services to vulnerable clients.
Regulation of a profession also ensures transparency for the public and requires accountability on the part of members. Ontarians have a right to assume that when they receive services from someone with a social work degree or a social service work diploma, that person is registered with, and accountable to, the College.
Membership with the College allows members to use the protected titles “social worker,” “registered social worker,” “social service worker,” or “registered social service worker.” It is illegal for anyone to use these titles in Ontario without registering with the College.
All College members are listed on the Online Register, which lists registration status, discipline history (if any), restrictions on practice (if any), and employer contact information. College members must meet specific registration requirements, follow the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, and complete the Continuing Competence Program (CCP) annually.
Registered social workers and registered social service workers are committed to delivering professional, ethical, qualified and accountable care and services to the public. To find out more about the College, its governing legislation and more, visit the general information section of our website under “About Us.”