College Council recently approved the Equity and Inclusion Data Initiative Policy. Beginning in the upcoming 2024 renewal period, which will start in late November 2023, registrants will be invited to share their demographic information with the College. This initiative is part of the College actioning our commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Q: Why is the College asking registrants to voluntarily provide sociodemographic data?
A: Collecting this data supports the Equity and Inclusion Data Initiative, which is based on the fundamental principle that only what is measured can be effectively understood and improved upon. The initiative was developed to help identify and monitor systemic racism and discrimination within the professions of social work and social service work.
Q: Is it mandatory that registrants provide their sociodemographic data?
A: No. Registrants will be invited to share demographic data on a voluntary basis. Registrants may also withdraw their consent and request that the College delete or stop using their personal information at any time. Registrants can choose to answer some, all or none of the questions, and may opt out at any time by either choosing “prefer not to answer” for multiple choice questions or typing in “N/A” for open-ended questions. No program, service or benefit will be withheld because a registrant chooses not to answer the questions.
Q: Can registrants still complete the renewal process without providing sociodemographic data?
A: Yes. Registrants who choose not to answer any of these questions will still be able to complete the renewal process.
Q: Will the data be kept confidential?
A: Yes. The data will be kept in a secure system, and access to the information will be restricted to a small number of College staff who require access for the purpose of reporting aggregate information and analyzing trends.
The data will be reported on only in the aggregate — registrants will not be able to be identified by the data they choose to submit.
Q: Will the data be tied to my registration profile?
A: The data will not be used to identify a registrant in any way, or for purposes with the intention to impact, harm or discriminate against a registrant. The data will never be used in any complaints or discipline processes, or be checked against a registrant’s safe practice registration requirement.
Q: How will the data be used?
A: Initially, the College’s intention is to use the data collected to:
• obtain a benchmark of the demographics of College registrants;
• provide insight into the degree to which the diversity of the Ontario public is reflected in College registration; and
• identify gaps and disparities between the demographics of College registrants and the Ontario public.
Once this benchmark is obtained, the College can use the data to address systemic barriers and inform equity initiatives to better serve the Ontario public.