27 Aug 2019

Professional Practice Update

The College is pleased to present the following update regarding current issues and resources related to Professional Practice.

Reminder: Continuing Competence Program

Participation in the Continuing Competence Program (CCP) is a condition of registration and one of the ways that members demonstrate their commitment to professional and ethical practice. All members (with the exception of those in the retired class) are required to participate in the CCP. This includes those who are not currently practising, in the inactive class, on maternity, parental or sick leave, or who registered late in the year. Please be advised that the Registration Regulation made under the Social Work and Social Service Work Act, 1998 gives the College the authority to suspend the certificate of registration of a member for non-compliance with the CCP.

The CCP is self-directed; a wide variety of learning activities can count towards the fulfillment of one’s learning goals. Please visit the CCP section on the College website for more information on learning activities, documents, evaluation and more.

Cultural humility resources

Social workers and social service workers must maintain an awareness of the issues and inequalities that impact the clients they serve. At the College’s Annual Meeting and Education Day in June 2019, keynote speaker Dr. Jeffrey Ansloos issued a call to action recommending the reading of the following three reports:

  1. Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
  2. Executive Summary of the Truth and Reconciliation Report
  3. United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The College’s recent Practice Notes on cultural humility as well as a Perspective article on the cultural humility consultation process undertaken by the Standards of Practice Committee also address this topic.

Consent to release education credentials to third parties

Did you know that the College provides third parties such as employers and insurance companies the opportunity to verify a member’s higher education credentials through the College? For example, a potential employer may wish to verify a member’s doctorate before hiring, or an insurance company may require verification of a member’s master’s degree prior to accepting a client in private practice.

If you would like to provide consent to the release of your higher education credentials to third parties, the College will require an original transcript of your academic qualifications (if you have not provided one already). These credentials would not include a BSW or diploma in social service work, which are entry-to-practice requirements to register with the College. If you registered with a BSW but subsequently obtained an MSW, please provide the College with an original transcript, if you have not already done so.

Please email Paul Cucci, Membership Manager, through info@ocswssw.org to provide your consent and verify your academic credentials.

Minimizing the risk of abandoned health records through succession planning

Abandonment of health records is a serious problem in Ontario healthcare. The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario receives many complaints about abandoned records and privacy breaches. The Commissioner is encouraging health information custodians to be proactive in planning the transfer of records should there be a change in their practice due to a relocation of practice, a bankruptcy, retirement, incapacity or death. Principle IV: The Social Work and Social Service Work Record, interpretation 4.2.4 in the Standards of Practice, and the record-keeping scenario in the Private Practice: The Cost of Doing Business Practice Notes, also address this issue.

A proper succession plan ensures that clients have access to their health records and minimizes the risk of privacy breaches. For the Commissioner’s detailed strategy for preventing abandoned records, see Succession Planning to Help Prevent Abandoned Records. See also the Letter to regulatory colleges re Minimizing the Risk of Abandoned Health Records through Succession Planning. 

Advertising and competence

Registered social workers and social service workers are committed to delivering professional, ethical, qualified and accountable care and services to the public. However, recent media attention, that focused on the alleged misrepresentation of professional credentials and competencies by a regulated professional, presents an opportunity for the College to remind members that they must practise in accordance with the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.

Principle VII: Advertising, in the Standards of Practice, states that “Advertising is intended to inform and educate the public about available social work and social service work services. College members ensure that advertisements are compatible with the standards and ethics of the social work and social service work professions.” Principle VII addresses the conditions under which members may advertise their services and competencies.

The College also recommends the Practice Notes, But How Do I Know If I’m Competent? – Issues to Consider for guidance on assessing one’s competence to perform any activity related to social work and social service work.

Please contact practice@ocswssw.org if you have any questions related to this Professional Practice update.