02 Jul 2020

Message from the Registrar and CEO: Important Updates for College Members and Other Stakeholders

As Registrar and CEO for the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (the College), I would like to take this opportunity to connect and provide you with a couple of updates.

Marking the College’s 20th Anniversary

This year, the College has reached an important milestone – its 20th anniversary. I must say that in the midst of a global pandemic, worldwide mobilization against anti-Black racism, and the incredibly important and ongoing dialogue around systemic oppression and social justice issues, celebrations seem out of place. While College staff have been using a commemorative email signature since the early months of 2020 to acknowledge this milestone, other plans have been cancelled.

It has often been said that change is the only constant in life. When I look back on the changes that have occurred at the College over the years, I recognize the multitude of accomplishments, not the least of which is our evolution as a leader in the regulatory community. All of these changes may seem natural today but each was carefully considered – months if not years in the making.

Acknowledging the College’s 20th anniversary cannot be done without recognizing its founding Registrar, Glenda McDonald. Five years ago this past May, Glenda passed away following a courageous battle with cancer. It is impossible to discuss the regulation of the social work and social service work professions in this province without including Glenda. She had a long and celebrated career as a social worker and was a driving force behind the establishment of the College 20 years ago.

In a past message, I shared a quote from the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, and it once again comes to mind: “progress is impossible without change.” The “impossible progress” of the College over these last 20 years could not have occurred without the open minds and dedication of College Council members, staff and other stakeholders.

As we move forward, we will continue to reflect upon and carefully consider our regulatory role. We look forward to our continued evolution in the years ahead as we advance our regulatory mandate in the public interest.

Strategic Plan

As noted in our June 19 eBulletin, the College was very pleased to share its Strategic Plan and Strategy Map with members and other stakeholders. Our previous communication emphasized how input from stakeholders was gathered, considered and/or reflected in the final document.

Following the Strategic Plan eBulletin, the College received a few inquiries from members asking about next steps in relation to the priorities and objectives set out in the Strategic Plan. As part of our continued commitment to transparency, we would like to take this opportunity to share further information and respond to these questions.

Next steps

Throughout the strategic planning process, the College has carefully considered stakeholder feedback in order to ensure that the new Strategic Plan provides clarity with respect to the College’s direction and priorities moving forward.

In terms of next steps, the College will implement and measure the progress of each of the priorities and objectives set out in the Strategic Plan through the development of key performance indicators. The Strategic Plan will be operationalized on an annual basis through the budget and work plan. Developed by staff and approved by Council, the annual budget (to be considered by Council in December) and work plan (to be considered by Council in September and again with the budget in December) determine how each priority and objective will be operationalized annually. Careful consideration will be given to the various approaches that will be undertaken to identify, respond to and operationalize each strategic priority and objective. All of these steps ensure that the Strategic Plan is a living document that provides the foundation and guidance for all College decisions over the next four years.

Progress on the goals and activities described in the annual work plan are reported on at each Council meeting. For further information, members and other stakeholders can access Council Highlights and other updates through regular eBulletins and the College website. The College’s accomplishments will also be summarized in the College’s annual report for 2020 (which is drafted following the financial audit and published in the spring of the following year).

Increasing diversity, equity and inclusion

Through its new Strategic Plan, Council has indicated its commitment to moving forward on the challenging and very important issues of diversity, equity and inclusion as they relate to the College’s regulatory role. This overarching priority encompasses anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism, and other forms of systemic oppression which disproportionately affect racialized communities. This priority also intends to enhance equity and inclusion across organizational processes, resources and materials.

Because we recognize that these critical issues directly impact the work of our members, the College’s communications, resources and other materials will continue to support members in practising ethically and professionally and to reflect our public protection mandate.

Input from members and other stakeholders is valued and will be considered carefully.

Should you have questions regarding the Strategic Plan, please contact the College’s Communications Manager, Sarah Choudhury at schoudhury@ocswssw.org.

Keep well and stay safe.

Lise Betteridge, MSW, RSW
Registrar and CEO