Fall 2020

Electronic Practice: An Employer’s Responsibility Around Ethical and Professional Practice

What are an employer’s responsibilities when it comes to their employees’ electronic practice? And how can an employer ensure that their clients are being served ethically and professionally?

As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many social work employers have shifted to providing services by electronic means. Electronic practice is the delivery of social work services by the use of electronic device (such as a computer, tablet, smartphone, landline telephone) or any electronic format (such as the Internet, social media, online chat, text, video, and email) and other electronic means.

No matter how they provide electronic services, employers should always consider the relevant regulatory requirements to ensure that their employees are carrying out electronic services professionally and ethically.

Members from other provincial regulatory bodies practising social work in Ontario

Under the terms of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement – which replaced the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) – members in good standing of a Canadian social work regulatory authority may practise electronically in another province.

In order to be registered to practise electronically in Ontario, an applicant from another province must hold a certificate of registration, licence or permit for social work that has been issued by a Canadian social work regulatory authority, which authorizes them to practise the profession of social work, or to use a title or designation relating to the profession, or both. Applicants must also meet all the requirements of the College’s AIT application (including academic verification of a social work degree for those registered in Alberta and Saskatchewan).

To find out more about the registration process for electronic practice in Ontario, whether as a member of, or an applicant to, the College, please visit the electronic practice webpage.

OCSWSSW members practising social work outside of Ontario

If a College member is looking to provide services to clients who reside outside Ontario, it is important that the member or their employer contact the regulatory body where the client is located in order to determine the relevant regulatory requirements in that particular province or jurisdiction.

FAQs on Cross-Jurisdictional Practice

The College has received a number of questions related to out-of-province service provisions. In order to offer employers some clarity on this topic, the College developed the following webpage which addresses the most frequently asked questions.

For more information on electronic practice and other practice-related inquiries, please contact the Professional Practice Department at practice@ocswssw.org.