Questions that members frequently ask are addressed in the following FAQs:

What are the requirements of the Continuing Competence Program?

The Continuing Competence Program (CCP) is based on The Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, Second Edition, 2008.

The CCP involves the following four steps:

Although you are not required to submit your CCP materials to the College, you must retain your CCP Portfolio which contains the Standards of Practice Checklist, the Self-Assessment Tool (SAT), the Professional Development Plan (PDP), and documentation as proof of completion of your learning activities.

You must retain your CCP Portfolio for a minimum of seven years. Members must, at any time required by the College, provide evidence satisfactory to the College that they have completed the CCP.

Why does the College have a mandatory Continuing Competence Program?

In accordance with the Registration Regulation under the Social Work and Social Service Work Act, 1998, members must provide evidence of continuing competence to practise social work or social service work.

What does continuing competence mean for me as a member of the College?

As a regulated professional, you are expected to display a sound knowledge base, well-developed skills and sound judgment in carrying out your professional responsibilities. You are accountable for your actions and are expected to engage in activities to enhance your practice.

The fundamental responsibility for ensuring continuing competence rests with you.

How do I know that the College won’t evaluate me based on how I rate myself on the Self-Assessment Tool?

The purpose of the Continuing Competence Program (CCP) is to promote high standards and quality assurance with respect to social work and social service work. In keeping with an adult education model, the program is based on the assumption that members have areas of strength, as well as areas in which they can further develop their knowledge and skills. The College is mandated to ensure that members are actively involved in the process of self-evaluation, goal setting and learning activities; however, it does not intend to “police” the practice of members. The ongoing responsibility to maintain competence, and the specifics of a member’s self-assessment, learning goals and professional development plan are the professional responsibility of the individual and not determined by the College. Members must, however, at any time required by the College, provide evidence satisfactory to the College that they have completed the CCP.

Should I be collecting credits or hours?

It is not necessary to collect neither credits nor hours as the Continuing Competence Program is not based on either of these criteria. However, it is expected that you maintain a record of your learning activities and experiences.

How much time should I invest in continuing competence?

It is recommended that members spend a minimum of 25 hours a year on meeting their learning goal(s); however in many cases, members will devote far more time than this. The learning activities and experiences you identify will vary in time commitment. What is most important is that you take the necessary steps to meet your learning goal(s). While some goals will be met within a short period of time, others will require months or even years.

Can volunteer work count as professional development?

Professional development activities stem from the learning goals you’ve set for yourself through the self-assessment process. As long as a learning activity or experience clearly relates to a learning goal and the Standards of Practice, it is acceptable.

Do I need to send continuing competence accomplishments to the College?

No. However, you do need to retain your CCP Portfolio for a minimum of seven years. You are also required to complete the Declaration of Participation in the Continuing Competence Program as part of your annual renewal of registration process. Members must, at any time required by the College, provide evidence satisfactory to the College that they have completed the CCP.

Why should I complete the Self-Assessment Tool? I’m already competent in my practice.

Learning is an ongoing process. By completing the self-assessment you will be able to assess your strengths and identify the areas that you can enhance. This will enable you to develop a learning plan based on your personal learning needs. By developing your own plan, you have a greater chance of attaining the goals you have set for yourself.

What will happen if I don’t participate in the Continuing Competence Program?

Participation in the Continuing Competence Program means, on an annual basis, completing the Standards of Practice Checklist, the Self-Assessment Tool (SAT), and the Professional Development Plan (PDP), and engaging in the learning activities identified in the PDP. As evidence of your participation, you are required to complete the Declaration of Participation in the Continuing Competence Program as part of your annual renewal of registration process.

According to the Registration Regulation made under the Social Work and Social Service Work Act, 1998, providing evidence satisfactory to the College of continuing competence is a condition of a certificate of registration. The Registrar may suspend a member’s certificate of registration for failing to comply with this condition. If your certificate of registration is suspended, you will no longer be able to:

  • Use the protected title “social worker”, “registered social worker”, “social service worker”, “registered social service worker” or their French equivalents
  • Represent or hold out, expressly or by implication that you are a social worker, registered social worker, social service worker or registered social service worker.

It is an act of professional misconduct to engage in the practice of social work or social service work while your certificate of registration is suspended. In addition, a notation of the suspension and the reason for the suspension will be entered on the College’s Register. This information is available to the public. Not participating in the College’s CCP, not providing evidence of participation or providing false information about your participation in the program may also be grounds for professional misconduct. Members must, at any time required by the College, provide evidence satisfactory to the College that they have completed the CCP. The College will take appropriate steps to respond to such conduct, including referring the matter to a statutory committee of the College.

How often do I have to complete the CCP?

Depending on your learning plan, some learning activities may be completed quickly while others may be more long-term. You will be required, however, to complete the Standards of Practice Checklist, the SAT and the PDP on an annual basis. These activities will help you develop your learning plan and identify appropriate learning activities and experiences. Continuing competence is just that — continuing.

I’m a new graduate. Do I have to participate in the Continuing Competence Program?

Yes. Learning continues throughout one’s career, regardless of years of experience.

I’m on maternity/parental/sick leave. Do I still have to participate?

As a regulated professional, you are expected to participate in the CCP, regardless of your work status. However you can ensure that your learning plan and the learning opportunities you’ve identified are flexible and accessible. Note that learning activities and experiences can include self-directed reading, online learning, and other informal learning activities.

I hold a retired class of certificate of registration. Do I still have to participate in the CCP?

The retired class of certificate of registration is intended for members who are no longer practising social work or social service work and do not intend to return to practice in Ontario or any other jurisdiction. Members in the retired class are not required to participate in the Continuing Competence Program (CCP).

Is the information I submit through the CCP confidential?

Generally yes, but exceptions are possible, as described below:

You will be required to submit an annual declaration verifying that you are participating in the CCP according to the Guidelines for the Continuing Competence Program. Members must, at any time required by the College, produce their CCP Portfolio (which includes the Standards of Practice Checklist, Self-Assessment Tool, Professional Development Plan, and evidence of completion of your learning activities).

Generally, information provided to the College by a member in connection with the CCP will only be used by the Professional Practice Department, who administers the CCP on behalf of the College.

Members should understand, however, there may be circumstances where information obtained in connection with a member’s participation in the program or the member’s failure to participate in the program may be shared with other departments of the College. For example, a member’s failure to provide information regarding his or her participation in the program may raise a concern about whether a member has committed an act of professional misconduct. In addition, if there is a complaint made about you, the Complaints Committee may examine “all the information and documents that the College has that are relevant to the complaint.” The information regarding your participation in the CCP may be relevant to a complaint and shared with the Complaints Committee (and other departments of the College).

Will the College provide continuing education?

The College website has a “Resources” section which contains educational materials for members, such as Practice Notes, Practice Guidelines and informational articles.

In keeping with the adult education model, through the CCP, each member is expected to identify their own professional learning needs and activities. The College’s definition of learning activities is broad in order to allow members to fully participate in the program.

Does the College approve courses and workshops for professional development credits?

No. The CCP is self-directed and based on an adult education model and is not based on credits or hours.

Can I substitute a copy of my annual performance appraisal for the Self-Assessment Tool?

No. The CCP uses a Self-Assessment Tool, based on the Standards of Practice, to help you to evaluate your own strengths and learning needs. An employer’s evaluation is more limited, focusing on your performance of workplace duties. These are different processes and documents. Certainly, your workplace performance appraisal may provide you with feedback suggesting practice areas in need of improvement, from which you may develop aspects of your learning plan and goals. Likewise, aspects of the CCP may complement your workplace performance appraisal. You may decide to retain a copy of your performance appraisal along with your CCP documents.

What is the Social Workers and Social Service Workers Professional Development Fund?

Established by the Minister of Community and Social Services, Dr. Helena Jaczek, and extended for a further two years in August 2017, the Social Workers and Social Service Workers Professional Development Fund (SWSSWPDF) helps to ensure that members of the College have access to professional development opportunities which will assist them in remaining current in their practice and in completing the College’s Continuing Competence Program. The SWSSWPDF provides further assurance to Ontarians that they will receive services from professional, ethical, qualified and accountable social workers and social service workers.

For more information on the SWSSWPDF, visit the Ontario Association of Social Workers’ website.

Is the material from the College available in French or in an alternate format?

Yes. If you have indicated on your registration form that you prefer all correspondence in French, then automatically the material will be forwarded to you in French. The CCP materials are available in alternate format upon request. Please contact the Professional Practice Department.

If you have questions regarding the Continuing Competence Program, please contact the Professional Practice Department.