Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an emerging technology that has the potential to play a role in the community and health landscape. The use of AI has demonstrated efficiencies and innovation, and the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (the College) can appreciate that registrants have been considering or have begun using AI in practice to assist with documentation or treatment planning, among other applications. 

It is imperative that the use of AI in client care is done in conjunction with confidentiality and ethical considerations in mind. The following information has been developed to assist registrants contemplating the use of AI in their practice. 


Registrants should consider the following questions about the use of AI in their practice: 

• Is using AI-related tools in the client’s best interest? 

• By using AI, am I prioritizing the client’s needs? Is a treatment plan or other documentation developed through AI evidence-based?

• Have I ensured that I am not being false, misleading or inaccurate by signing documentation or a treatment plan developed by AI? 

• Have I researched the current and relevant legislation that relates to the use of AI? 

• Have I ensured that no client demographics have been inputted in the AI tool or platform? 

• Am I aware of where the information I am inputting is going, and where will it be stored? 

If a registrant answers “no” to any of these questions, they should reconsider using AI in practice and seek further information and consultation or supervision. 


As the provincial regulator, the College is legislated to develop and enforce professional standards which are applicable to all social workers and social service workers. Registrants are required to adhere to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, which sets out the minimum standards of professional practice and conduct for both professions. 

The College expects registrants to review the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice at least annually and when facing a particular issue or dilemma. This will help ensure they apply their professional judgment while practising social work or social service work. In particular, the College advises registrants to note the following principles: 

Clients should participate in developing their goals and objectives. AI-generated treatment plans could impact client self-determination. 

Standards of Practice, Principle I, Interpretation 1.4: College registrants shall respect and facilitate self-determination in a number of ways, including acting as resources for clients and encouraging them to decide which problems to address and how to address them.

Standards of Practice, Principle I, Interpretation 1.8: College registrants shall distinguish their own needs and interests from those of their clients to ensure that, within professional relationships, clients’ needs and interests remain paramount.

College registrants must be competent in using AI and interventions must be based on reliable sources of information. 

Standards of Practice, Principle II, Interpretation 2.1: College registrants shall commit to ongoing professional development and to maintaining competence in their practice.

Standards of Practice, Principle II, Interpretation 2.1.6: College registrants shall be knowledgeable about the policies, legislation, programs and issues related to the communities, institutions and services in their areas of practice.

Standards of Practice, Principle II, Interpretation 2.1.7: College registrants shall ensure that any professional recommendations or opinions they provide are supported by evidence and a credible body of professional social work or social service work knowledge. Evidence can include information gathered from: 

i. direct observation; 

ii. clinical sessions; 

iii. professional meetings; 

iv. Indigenous worldviews and ways of knowing; 

v. collateral sources; 

vi. documents and correspondence; 

vii. clinical tools (e.g. diagnostic assessment measures, rating scales); 

viii. research; 

ix. training and continuing education; 

x. supervision; and/or 

xi. journals/literature.5

Documentation is critical to ethical client care and must be factual and accurate. Registrants must consider whether signing documentation generated by AI is misleading or otherwise improper. 

Standards of Practice, Principle IV, Interpretation 4.1.4: College registrants shall not make a statement in the record, or in reports based on the record, or issue or sign a certificate, report or other documents in the course of practising either profession that the College registrant knows or ought reasonably to know is false, misleading, inaccurate or otherwise unprofessional.

Confidentiality is critical to professional and ethical practice and registrants must not enter client information into an AI tool or platform. 

Standards of Practice, Principle V, Interpretation 5.1: College members comply with any applicable privacy and other legislation. College members obtain consent to the collection, use or disclosure of client information including personal information, unless otherwise permitted or required by law. 


Registrants must familiarize themselves with reliable sources of information and build their competency before using AI in their practice. 

The following resources are meant to provide further support and guidance to ensure that registrants are practising ethically and professionally. 

Practice Notes: Professional and Ethical: Communication Technology Practices and Policies for a Digital World 

Practice Notes: Communication Technology and Ethical Practice: Evolving Issues in a Changing Landscape 

Top 6 Considerations for Virtual Services 

Top 10 Considerations for Using Communication Technology in Practice 

Practice Notes: The Evolving Landscape of Electronic Practice 

From the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC): Artificial Intelligence in the public sector: Building trust now and for the future 


Registrants who have determined to move forward with using AI in their practice should consider the following: 

• Question and never solely rely on the information AI generates. 

• Search for errors and false information. 

• Review data to ensure it does not contain any confidential information. 

• Determine if there has been any copyright infringement if direct quotes are used. 

• Confirm if using AI-related tools to search and/or generate information requires you to agree to terms of use that may jeopardize confidential information. 

AI technology is only as reliable as the humans who develop it. Bias, errors, and lack of current perspective can result in the development of false and inaccurate information. Registrants must recognize this and proceed competently, ethically, and professionally. 

For any further questions about using AI in practice, please contact the Professional Practice Department at

1 Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW), The Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, Third Edition, 2023, Principle I: Relationship with Clients, interpretation 1.4.

2 Ibid, interpretation 1.8. 

3 OCSWSSW, The Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, Third Edition, 2023, Principle II: Competence and Integrity, interpretation 2.1 

4 Ibid, interpretation 2.1.6 

5 OCSWSSW, The Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, Third Edition, 2023, Principle IV: The Social Work and Social Service Work Record, interpretation 4.1.4.

6 (OCSWSSW), The Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, Third Edition, 2023, Principle V: Confidentiality, interpretation 5.1.