Social workers and social service workers are regulated under the Social Work and Social Service Work Act, 1998. Unlike educational colleges or schools, regulatory colleges have as their mandate the protection of the public. Self-regulation is a specific kind of regulation, in which the government delegates to a profession the power to regulate its peers. Self-regulation is a privilege given to professions when:
- They have reached a level of maturity as a profession;
- There is broad support for regulation within the profession(s); and
- The profession has a specialized and recognized skill set and knowledge base which enable it to set standards and judge the conduct of its members.
Self-regulation recognizes that those within the profession are in the best position to determine, evaluate and enforce the standards of practice of the profession.
Regulation ensures that the public receives services that are provided by professional, ethical, qualified and accountable practitioners. As the regulatory body for social workers and social service workers in Ontario, the College fulfils its mandate of public protection by:
- Regulating the practice of social work and social service work and governing its members;
- Setting entry to practice requirements to ensure that only those with specialized educational qualifications are eligible for registration;
- Promoting high standards for the professions,
- Setting and maintaining standards of practice;
- Ensuring that all members follow the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice;
- Requiring all members to engage in ongoing learning through the Continuing Competence Program (CCP); and
- Maintaining a rigorous complaints and discipline process.