25 Mar 2020

Answers to Your Questions: OCSWSSW Update Regarding COVID-19

The Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (the College) continues to monitor the developments concerning COVID-19. We recognize the significant and ongoing impact the pandemic has on members and other stakeholders, as well as our collective responsibility to do our part to reduce the spread of this virus.

New FAQs on College website

The College reminds members and other stakeholders to continue to visit the College’s COVID-19 Updates webpage regularly for updates and further communications as circumstances change.

The College has now made available on this webpage FAQs intended to address questions from members and other stakeholders. We are committed to continuing to provide clear and transparent information and we will update the FAQs as needed. Please note the date at the top of the page to ensure that you are viewing the most up-to-date version.

We encourage members to review the FAQs before emailing the College directly with an inquiry.

College operations

The College is in the process of restoring core regulatory operations remotely. While the College’s physical office remains closed until further notice, we are gradually resuming some services remotely. We will provide further details concerning College operations shortly.

Updates from government and public health authorities

The College is strongly advising members to suspend all non-essential social work and social service work services until further notice, in compliance with the provincial shutdown of all non-essential businesses and services effective March 24, 2020. For more information on this announcement, please read the news release here. For the list of essential workplaces, please visit the following webpage.

Ontario’s Acting Chief Medical Officer of Health issued a directive on March 19, 2020 to health care providers as per the Health Protection and Promotion Act regarding the suspension of non-essential services. Although this communication came from the Ministry of Health (MOH) and was directed to regulated health professionals (those regulated under the Regulated Health Professions Act), the College believes that members will find it to be relevant.

While the College cannot decide for members whether they should suspend their social work or social service work services and/or which of their services are essential, we have provided information in this eBulletin for their consideration.

HealthForceOntario has asked health care providers who may be working part-time and are prepared to increase their work hours, and former healthcare providers who are retired or on inactive status with their regulatory college and are prepared to return to employment, to complete the COVID-19 Health Care Provider Recruitment survey. Gathering this information is part of the MOH’s efforts to prepare for the needs of the healthcare system during the pandemic.

Future updates

The College will continue to monitor the rapidly evolving developments related to COVID-19. Please visit the College’s website and Twitter account regularly for updates and further communications related to COVID-19 and College operations.