College Update: From “Member” to “Registrant”

The Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (the College) is gradually moving towards using the term “registrant” – rather than “member” – when referring to individuals registered with the College. The decision to use the term “registrant” was made by the College Council as a result of the College’s governance review process and underscores the College’s role as a regulator rather than an association.

The governance review process

The College is committed to continuously enhancing its regulatory effectiveness. In 2020, the College’s regulatory functions – including its governance – were impacted, in part, by the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges. The College also recognized a need to consider trends in regulatory governance modernization across Canada and internationally. In 2021, the College Council agreed that it had an opportunity to re-examine and improve its current governance practices through governance training and a review of its governance processes. As part of this process, the College engaged with governance consultants to conduct the review and assess the College’s performance against the Standards of Good Governance.

Following the consultants’ review, the College Council was provided with a Governance Report, which was made public on the College website in May. In response to the Governance Report, the Council’s Governance Committee (at Council’s direction) developed a draft action plan based on the Report’s 21 recommendations, which included using the term “registrant” – not “member.”

What happens next?

The College recently announced the change in terminology to registrants at its 2022 Educational Forum and in the latest issue of Perspective– the College’s official publication for social workers and social service workers. On the College’s website and documents, we will continue to use the term “member” and “registrant” interchangeably and synonymously as equivalent to the term “member” as used in the Social Work and Social Service Work Act and regulations.

For more information about the change in terminology and use of the term “registrant,” please contact