FAQ: What Titles Can OCSWSSW Members Use?

In Ontario, only the following protected titles and designations, their abbreviations and French equivalents can be used by, or in reference to, people registered with the College:

  • Social worker (« travailleuse/travailleur social(e) »)
  • Registered social worker (« travailleuse/travailleur social(e) inscrit(e)»)
  • Social service worker (« technicienne/technicien en travail social »)
  • Registered social service worker (« technicienne/technicien en travail social inscrit(e) »)

What titles cannot be used by or in reference to College members?

The Registration Regulation O. Reg. 383/00 made under the Social Work and Social Service Work Act sets out only two categories of registration: social work and social service work. None of the following titles, abbreviations or variations can be used in Ontario:

  • Clinical social worker
  • Registered clinical social worker or RCSW
  • Licensed clinical social worker or LCSW

Members must not refer to themselves using any of the above titles with clients or employers. Employers cannot refer to employees who are members of the College using any of the above titles.

Some provinces, such as Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan, do have a distinct registration category for “clinical social worker” that is different from “registered social worker.” In these jurisdictions, clinical social workers in this category hold advanced clinical certifications and/or meet other requirements that permit them to use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) independently in order to make a mental health diagnosis. These titles are also often used by social workers regulated in the United States.

For more information, visit the Canadian Association of Social Workers website.

For additional details on protected titles, visit our website. For all title protection inquiries, please contact titleprotection@ocswssw.org.

Can College members also use the title “psychotherapist”?

Members may use the title “psychotherapist,” provided that they also note their membership in the College or the titles restricted to them as a member of the College. College membership and/or the protected title must come before the term “psychotherapist.” For example: “Your Name, Registered Social Worker, Psychotherapist.”

Visit the College’s website for more information on performing the controlled act of psychotherapy, as well as examples of the proper use the title “psychotherapist” on business cards and email signatures.