Questions that members frequently ask are addressed in the following FAQs:
What are the requirements of the Continuing Competence Program?
The Continuing Competence Program is based on the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, Second Edition, 2008. You will be required to:
- Review The Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice Handbook, Second Edition 2008 and other documents posted for review (College articles, Practice Notes and Practice Guidelines, for example) in this CCP year.
- Complete the Standards of Practice Checklist to indicate you have completed the review.
- Complete the Self-Assessment Tool (SAT) by identifying your strengths, learning needs, and areas of interest.
- Develop learning goal(s).
- Transfer your learning goal(s) to the Professional Development Plan (PDP).
- Determine the learning activities/experiences you will complete to meet your learning goal(s).
- Complete each learning activity/experience and record it on the PDP.
- Retain all documentation (e.g. receipts, certificates, slides etc.) as proof of completion of your learning activities.
- Complete the Declaration of Participation in the CCP as part of the annual renewal of registration process.
Although you are not required to submit your Continuing Competence Program 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 and the College may require that you provide it upon request.
Why did the College implement a Continuing Competence Program?
The implementation of a Continuing Competence Program is one of the legislated responsibilities of the College. According to the Social Work and Social Service Work Act, the primary duty of the College in carrying out its objects is “to serve and protect the public interest.” Among the objects of the College are:
- To establish and enforce professional standards and ethical standards applicable to members of the
- To promote high standards and quality assurance with respect to social work and social service
Further to this, the Registration Regulation made under the Act states that the following is a condition of a certificate of registration:
“The member must provide evidence satisfactory to the College of the member’s continuing competence to practise social work or social service work, as the case may be, in accordance with the guidelines approved by Council from time to time and published and distributed by the College to members of the College.” O Reg. 383/00, s.6
What does continuing competence mean for me?
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 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 all 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 all 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.
Should I be collecting credits or hours?
It is not necessary to collect either credits or 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 will be required to make an annual declaration to the College of your participation in the program at the time of annual renewal.
Why should I complete the Self-Assessment Tool? I’m already competent.
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 their participation, members are required to make a declaration of their participation in the CCP on their Annual Renewal of Registration Form.
According to the Registration Regulation made under the Social Work and Social Service Work Act, 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
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. 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 do this?
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/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.
Is the information I submit through the Continuing Competence Program 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. The College may also require that you produce your 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 department of the College that administers the CCP.
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, informational articles (e.g. “Duty to Report under the Child and Family Services Act” and “Medical Assistance in Dying”) and videos (e.g. “Getting the most out of your CCP”).
With well over 18,000 members throughout the province, working in diverse practice areas, it would be a challenge to provide continuing education that would be cost-effective, relevant and accessible to all members. In keeping with the adult education model, through the CCP, each member is expected to identify his/her own professional learning needs and activities. The College’s definition of learning activities is broad in order to allow all members to fully participate in the program.
Does the College approve courses and workshops for professional development credits?
No. As indicated in Question 5, the CCP 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.
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 College.
If you have questions regarding the Continuing Competence Program, please contact the Professional Practice Department.