Message from the Registrar and CEO: Regulatory Amendments to the College’s Legislation Passed

The Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (the College) is very pleased to announce that proposed changes to our governing legislation, the Social Work and Social Service Work Act, 1998 (the SWSSWA) have been passed and will come into force on July 1, 2024. These amendments relate to section 50 of the SWSSWA regarding confidentiality and build on the College’s mandate of strong oversight to provide the best possible and safe environments for the most vulnerable Ontarians.

Aligning the College with provincial health regulators

The amendments to the SWSSWA better align the College with health regulators in the province, by incorporating the same confidentiality provisions as outlined in the Regulated Health Professionals Act. This modernization of legislation is a significant step forward, ensuring that our regulatory framework remains both current and effective. As is already the case with Ontario health regulators, we will be able to collaborate and share essential information regarding ongoing investigations of a registrant with other regulatory bodies and agencies, all with the ultimate goal of protecting the public.

Strengthening collaboration and information sharing for public protection

Once the legislative changes come into effect on July 1, 2024, if a registrant is under investigation for serious professional misconduct, such as allegations of sexual abuse, the College will have enhanced abilities to share this vital information with relevant parties, such as a children’s aid society and/or law enforcement agencies. 

The College will also be able to publicly confirm whether we are investigating a registrant if there is a compelling public safety reason to make such a confirmation – for example, if there is a significant risk of harm to the public. 

It is important to note that the College will NOT openly acknowledge every ongoing investigation. Disclosure of an ongoing investigation will occur only when it is deemed necessary to protect public safety. In instances where there is a risk of public safety, the College is authorized to confirm the existence of an investigation. 

Ensuring the best possible protections for clients and communities

The College continues to work collaboratively with the government to implement these changes which will enhance protections and improve care for Ontario’s most vulnerable populations. 

This legislative change is an exciting development and an important step towards ensuring the best possible protections for Ontarians.

Further information

For questions or inquiries about the legislative changes, contact the College’s Communications Department at