In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, all in-person hearings at the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers have been suspended until further notice. Please refer to the College’s Committee Direction for Hearings During COVID-19 regarding Discipline and Fitness to Practise Committee hearings during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you would like to attend a discipline hearing via teleconference, please contact the Hearings Office by email at email@example.com. Please note that the College reserves the right to limit the number of participants.
As part of its duty to serve and protect the public interest, the College is required to have a formal fitness to practise process.
This page provides a brief overview of the College’s fitness to practise process. Although every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate and current, it is not intended to be an exhaustive summary. In the event of any discrepancy between this webpage and the Social Work and Social Service Work Act, regulations and the relevant College bylaws, the latter will prevail.
For comprehensive information on fitness to practise procedures, please review Part III of the Act.
Fitness to Practise Committee
The Fitness to Practise Committee hears and determines matters referred to it by the Complaints Committee, the Executive Committee or Council following an inquiry into a member’s health. This is referred to as a “health inquiry.” The Fitness to Practise Committee is responsible for determining whether a member is incapacitated, and if so, what terms, conditions or limitations should be placed on the member’s certificate of registration. The Fitness to Practise Committee is composed of experienced social workers and social service workers as well as members of the public.
Powers of the Fitness to Practise Committee
The Fitness to Practise Committee may, after a hearing, find a member of the College to be incapacitated if, in its opinion, the member is suffering from a physical or mental condition or disorder such that,
- the member is unfit to continue to carry out his or her professional responsibilities, or
- a certificate of registration held by the member under the Social Work and Social Service Work Act should be made subject to terms, conditions or limitations.
If the Committee finds a member to be incapacitated, it can make a number of orders including:
- Revoking the member’s certificate of registration.
- Suspending the member’s certificate for a specified period, not exceeding 24 months.
- Imposing specified terms, conditions or limitations on the member’s certificate of registration.
Procedure on hearings
The College and the member of the College who is alleged to be incapacitated are the parties to the hearing.
Fitness to Practise Committee hearings are closed to the public unless the person who is alleged to be incapacitated requests otherwise.
For more information, please read the Rules of Procedure of the Fitness to Practise Committee.
Please refer to the following additional resource(s): What is Incapacity?