The College was established when the Government of Ontario proclaimed the Social Work and Social Service Work Act (SWSSWA) on August 15, 2000. In accordance with the SWSSWA, the primary duty of the College is to serve and protect the public interest. To fulfill its duty, the College must carry out the following objects:
- Regulate the practice of social work and the practice of social service work and to govern its members.
- Develop, establish and maintain qualifications for membership in the College.
- Approve professional education programs offered by educational institutions for the purpose of applications for membership in the College.
- Approve ongoing education programs for the purpose of continuing education for members of the College.
- Provide for the ongoing education of members of the College.
- Issue certificates of registration to members of the College and to renew, amend, suspend, cancel, revoke and reinstate those certificates.
- Establish and enforce professional standards and ethical standards applicable to members of the College.
- Receive and investigate complaints against members of the College and to deal with issues of discipline, professional misconduct, incompetency and incapacity.
- Promote high standards and quality assurance with respect to social work and social service work and to communicate with the public on behalf of the members.
- Perform the additional functions prescribed by the regulations.
In addition to the above objects, the SWSSWA established other functions of the College, including the role of the College Council, the Online Register and use of the protected titles, among others.