On Friday, June 11th, 2021, the Ontario government moved the province into Step One of its “Roadmap to Reopen” plan. The provincial government noted that its decision to reopen was based on the province-wide vaccination rate and continuing improvements in key public health and health system indicators.
The Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (the College) continues to take its cues from government and public health authorities and to monitor closely how these ongoing developments may impact members and other stakeholders.
Though we are heartened by the improvements in the vaccination rate and public health and health system indicators, we encourage social workers and social service workers to remain vigilant against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and to follow safety and infection control measures.
College members should ensure that they are up-to-date with respect to information and guidance from government and public health authorities and familiar with previous College communications regarding:
- safety and infection control measures;
- considerations for members regarding in-person practice; and
- key considerations for members in private practice.
Members may wish to refer to Regulation 82/20 which provides information related to services or businesses that may open, including professionals or organizations that provide in-person counselling services. It is very important to note that there are a number of requirements set out in the Regulation with which all businesses that may open must comply.
It should also be emphasized once again that while some members may be permitted to provide in-person services because of the nature of the services they provide, the College strongly advises all members to continue, wherever reasonably possible, to provide services by electronic means.
Members are also advised to consult the College’s practice resources regularly, including:
- COVID-19 Updates webpage
- Top 6 considerations for virtual services
- FAQs on cross-jurisdictional practice
- ETHICS->A: Ethical Decision-Making Tool
The College is monitoring the situation closely and will provide further communications regarding provincial updates which may impact members and other stakeholders, as they become available.
Members can visit the College’s centralized webpage to access practice support, as well as other COVID-19 resources, links to government and public health authorities, and eBulletins which have been sent to members and other stakeholders throughout the pandemic.