As noted in its recent announcement, effective January 5, 2022, the Ontario government is moving to a modified step two of the Roadmap to Reopen in response to the rapid increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations. These measures will be in place until at least January 26, 2022, pending the review of trends in public health and health system indicators.
As Registrar and CEO, I recognize that this latest return to restrictions is discouraging. Many of you may be feeling the cumulative and unrelenting impact of the pandemic, which adds to the existing personal and professional challenges faced by members and other stakeholders. I encourage you to prioritize your own mental health and well-being and to seek the support you need as we all face this next hurdle.
In light of the province’s recent announcement, the College is providing the following practice considerations for social workers and social service workers:
College members should ensure that they are up to date with respect to information and revised guidance from government and public health authorities; this includes considering issues related to adequate ventilation and the use of approved masks.
Members should also ensure they are familiar with previous College communications regarding:
- asking for proof of vaccination status;
- safety and infection control measures;
- considerations for members regarding in-person practice; and
- key considerations for members in private practice.
Given the exponential growth in COVID-19 cases and the challenges posed with the Omicron variant, College members are advised to provide services by electronic means, wherever reasonably possible, and to use their professional judgment to determine whether or not to see clients in person.
Members are encouraged to use the ETHICS-A: Ethical Decision-Making Tool to assist them in applying their professional judgment throughout their practice.
Social workers and social service workers should continue to visit the College’s centralized webpage to access practice support and eBulletins which have been sent to College members and other stakeholders throughout the pandemic. A list of frequently asked questions is also accessible on the COVID-19 Updates webpage.
The College will continue to provide recommendations that are intended to protect the health and well-being of both members and the Ontario public.
Thank you for your dedication and commitment. Keep well.
Lise Betteridge, MSW, RSW
Registrar and CEO