As we reach the sixth week of the provincial state of emergency, I would like to acknowledge once again the significant and ongoing impact that COVID-19 has on members and other stakeholders. The College remains committed to monitoring the pandemic and to providing members and other stakeholders with ongoing updates related to COVID-19 and College operations.
Suspending non-essential services
Last week, the government of Ontario announced it had extended the Declaration of Emergency until May 12, 2020. The government regulation (Closure Regulation) setting out the essential businesses and services and other requirements has now been extended until April 23, 2020 – and it is possible that it will be further extended. For more information, please visit the news release here.
The College continues to strongly advise members to suspend all non-essential social work and social service work services until further notice, in compliance with provincial emergency orders. For more information on the government’s announcement, please read the news release here.
For the current list of essential businesses and services as of April 3, 2020 (11:59 p.m.), please visit the following webpage. The government’s Closure Regulation, including Schedule 2 which lists the essential businesses and services, can be found here.
The College cannot decide on behalf of individual members which of their services are essential. Members must make their own determination, based on their employment setting as well as the sector and/or clients that they serve, in consultation with their employer and following a review of relevant workplace policies.
Supporting ethical and professional practice
The College continues to support members as they find new ways to deliver ethical and professional social work and social service work services to the Ontario public. To that end, we will continue to develop ongoing guidance, resources and other supports, and College staff will continue to answer members’ practice-related questions and concerns – including those related to electronic practice.
The FAQs on the College’s COVID-19 Updates webpage are updated regularly as part of our continued commitment to transparency and to providing members and other stakeholders with clear and accurate information. Please note the date at the top of the FAQ section which confirms when the FAQs were last updated.
This is a challenging time for all, with some College members feeling quite anxious about the sudden and dramatic changes in the nature of their work and many also impacted personally. I would like to reassure members and other stakeholders that we are committed to supporting members in delivering ethical and professional care to the communities they serve.
We are disappointed to advise College members that this year’s Annual Meeting and Education Day (AMED) has been postponed and will be replaced with a scaled-down version of the event in September. The College made this very difficult decision in light of the ongoing developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the circumstances and the scope of the event, it was no longer feasible to move ahead with AMED as planned for early June. We will be in touch as we finalize further details.
Please visit the College’s website and Twitter account regularly for updates and further communications related to COVID-19 and College operations.
Lise Betteridge, MSW, RSW
Registrar and CEO