07 Oct 2021

Professional Practice Update: Practice Considerations around Provincial Vaccination Mandate and College’s Upcoming Review of the Standards of Practice

The Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (the College) would like to share the following information and resources to support members’ practice.

Practice considerations around vaccination

Over the last few months, the College’s Professional Practice Team has seen an increase in practice-related inquiries around proof of vaccination requirements.

Members are advised to continue to follow previously communicated practice recommendations about in-person practice, regardless of the vaccination status of their clients. All previous eBulletins and information on this topic can be accessed on the College’s COVID-19 Updates webpage.

Information provided by the Ontario Ministry of Health states that proof of vaccination is required in specific settings, but not in places where people receive medical care. Members may confirm whether proof of vaccination is required in their practice by contacting their local public health authority.

College members who are considering whether to ask their clients about their vaccination status, even though this may not be required in their practice setting, may wish to first obtain a legal consultation through their professional liability insurance provider.

College members should also ensure that they are up-to-date with respect to information and guidance from government and public health authorities and should familiarize themselves with previous College communications regarding:

The Ontario Human Rights Commission recently issued a policy statement on COVID-19 vaccine mandates and proof of vaccine certificates which may be of interest to members. The policy statement can be viewed at the following link: http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/news_centre/ohrc-policy-statement-covid-19-vaccine-mandates-and-proof-vaccine-certificates.

While resuming in-person services may be permitted, it is not required. Members are advised to continue to use their professional judgment when deciding if and when it is appropriate to resume such in-person services or to continue to provide services by electronic means.

The College continues to urge social workers and social service workers to remain vigilant against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, despite improvements in the vaccination rate and other positive public health and healthcare indicators.

Upcoming review of the Standards of Practice

As noted in its Strategic Plan, the College is embarking on a comprehensive review of its Standards of Practice – the first full review since 2008. The College has retained the services of a consultant who will be assisting the College and its Standards of Practice Committee in the first phase of this important initiative to ensure that the professional standards which guide members’ practice is inclusive, relevant and responsive to the current context.

As part of the first phase of this project, the College will be conducting stakeholder consultations which will include a survey to members and other stakeholders, including the public, as well as focus groups. We look forward to receiving stakeholder feedback and will share additional information later this fall.

 2021 CCP reminder

As we approach renewal season, the College would like to remind all members to begin to work on their 2021 Continuing Competence Program (CCP) if they haven’t started already.

Participation in the CCP is a condition of registration and one of the ways that College members demonstrate their commitment to professional and ethical practice. All members (with the exception of those in the retired class of certificate of registration) are required to participate in the CCP.

As part of the 2021 CCP, members are also required to review the following practice resources:

For more information on the College’s Continuing Competence Program, including required reading, please visit the College website or contact the Professional Practice Department at ccp@ocswssw.org.

Please contact the Professional Practice Department at practice@ocswssw.org for all practice-related inquiries.