Winter 2021

Q&A: Cross-Jurisdictional Practice

map of Ontario with miniature Ontario flag

Are social workers and social service workers permitted to provide services to clients who live temporarily in Ontario?

College members are permitted to practise with clients who currently live in Ontario, regardless of whether the client is in Ontario on a temporary or permanent basis. If the client continues to require services after returning to their home province or jurisdiction, members would need to consider the requirements in the College’s Standards of Practice for appropriate termination of services and/or referral. In some instances, members may determine that it is in the best interests of the client for them to continue to provide services. If that is the case, members are advised to contact the regulatory body in the province or jurisdiction in question to determine the requirements of the regulatory body in that province or jurisdiction, and to seek legal advice and contact their professional liability insurance provider, before continuing to provide services.

Referring to the Standards of Practice

The College’s Standards of Practice, which can be accessed in The Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice Handbook, set out the minimum standards of professional practice and conduct, in accordance with the Social Work and Social Service Work Act. The Standards of Practice are meant to be applied to members’ practice in conjunction with any applicable legislation and with their professional judgment.

The Standards of Practice apply to the breadth and scope of social work practice and social service work practice. It is recognized that throughout the scope of practice for each profession, there are variations in approaches and that members vary their methods in response to the demands of a particular situation, including cross-jurisdictional practice. The Principles and Interpretations contained within the Standards of Practice prescribe the basis on which professional practice is conducted in a sound and ethical manner.

Learn more

For more information on cross-jurisdictional practice and other practice-related matters, please contact the College’s Professional Practice Department at practice@ocswssw.org. We also encourage employers, members and other stakeholders to visit our FAQs on cross-jurisdictional practice on the College website.