Important information for applicants: As a result of the ongoing impact related to COVID-19, Canada Post has adjusted their processes. All mail that requires a signature can no longer be delivered to the College office. As such, we request that all mailed items be sent to the College as regular mail.

Academic institutions should continue to mail official transcripts directly to the College; however, if this is not possible, we will continue to accept emailed transcripts directly from the academic institution to registration@ocswssw.org. All registration inquiries, including requests for high-priority registration, can be sent via email to registration@ocswssw.org.

Why Register with the College?

When you become a registered member of the College, you join a community of social workers and social service workers across Ontario which is professional, ethical, qualified and accountable. Registration provides professional credibility and added value for members, while protecting the public from unqualified, incompetent or unfit practitioners.

Registration is also the law. Only registered College members can use the title “social worker”/ “registered social worker” or “social service worker”/ “registered social service worker”. Registration is also required if you represent or hold yourself out as a social worker or social service worker.


Value of Registration

Registered social workers and social service workers are committed to delivering professional, ethical, qualified and accountable care and services to the clients and communities they serve.

As a College member, you demonstrate to employers and to the public that you’ve:

  • met specific registration requirements;
  • follow a code of ethics and standards of practice; and
  • engage in ongoing learning through the College’s Continuing Competence Program (CCP).

College members can also use the protected titles of “social service worker”/“registered social service worker” or “social worker”/“registered social worker” (depending on your class of registration).

Added value for members

  • Pay a reduced membership fee for new graduates (see New Graduate Fee).
  • Access information on the activities of the College through College resources including the Perspective newsletter, Practice Guidelines, Practice Notes, the website and eBulletins.
  • Attend educational and networking opportunities as part of the Glenda McDonald Educational Series including the Annual Meeting and Education Day (AMED) and Educational Forums.
  • Consult with and seek free guidance from the Professional Practice Department for ethical and practice-related questions.

Summary of the Criteria for Registration

To register as a social worker or social service worker with the College, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Pay a non-refundable $100 application fee.
  • Pay the annual registration fee.
  • Be able to speak and write either English or French with reasonable fluency.
  • Be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident or authorized to practise social work or social service work under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada).
  • Disclose any current proceeding in relation to professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity and other similar proceeding (for example, a complaint or discipline proceeding) in any jurisdiction.
  • Disclose any findings of professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity in any jurisdiction.
  • Disclose any findings of guilt in relation to criminal or other offences.
  • Make a declaration regarding health and conduct so that, based on your past and present conduct, the College has reasonable grounds to believe that you:
    • do not have any physical or mental condition or disorder that could affect your ability to practise social work or social service work in a safe manner.
    • will practise social work or social service work with decency, integrity and honesty and in accordance with the law.
    • have sufficient knowledge, skill and judgment to practise social work or social service work.
  • Have engaged in the practice of social work or social service work within the five years immediately before the date of the application, or otherwise satisfy the Registrar that you are competent to perform the role of a social worker or social service worker. Note: This requirement does not apply to applicants who have obtained the academic qualifications required for registration with the College within the five years before the date of application.
  • Meet specific academic requirements and experience as outlined under each application route you choose from the main menu.

The application asks for the following information:

Contact Information

If the Registrar issues a certificate of registration to you, certain information provided on the application including your name, business address(es), business telephone number(s) and name of your employer or business will, in accordance with the Social Work and Social Service Work Act, 1998 and the bylaws of the College, be contained in the Register of the College. Information on the Register is information that is available to the public.

Please note that if you provide your home address as your business address, your home address is information which will be available to the public. If disclosure of your business address(es), business telephone number(s) or name of your employer or business may jeopardize your safety, please advise the Registrar who will assess whether there is a basis for the information not to be made public. In addition, if you use a pseudonym in your practice of social work or social service work because it is necessary for your personal safety, please advise the Registrar. In both cases, provide written details.

Language Proficiency

An applicant must demonstrate the ability to speak and write either English or French with reasonable fluency. An applicant who answers “No” to all of the language fluency questions as part of the application for registration process is required to:

  1. Undertake a language proficiency test(s) that is acceptable to the College.
  2. Achieve the result scores indicated below.

You are responsible for all costs associated with taking the language proficiency test(s) and it is your responsibility to arrange to have the test results forwarded in writing directly from the testing agency to the College. The testing agency can send the test results by mail to the College office or by email to registration@ocswssw.org.

The College will not accept test results from a language proficiency test that you completed more than two years prior to the date your application for registration is received by the College.

Written and Spoken Fluency (English)

Each of the following English language proficiency testing systems is acceptable to the College. An applicant must achieve the test result scores indicated below in order to demonstrate their ability to speak or write English with reasonable fluency. Please click on the corresponding website link below for more information:

  1. TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Internet-based (iBT) Test Overall score: 92, Writing: 22, Speaking: 26, Listening: 22, Reading: 22.
  2. IELTS (International English Language Testing System) Academic
    Minimum score  of no less than 7 in each component: reading, listening, writing, speaking.
  3. CanTEST
    Minimum score of no less than 5 in each section: reading, listening, writing, speaking.

Written and Spoken Fluency (French)

The following French language proficiency testing system is acceptable to the College:

  1. TESTCan
    Minimum score of no less than 5 in each section: reading, listening, writing, speaking.

If you require further information, please contact the Registration Department at registration@ocswssw.org.

Translation of Documents

Documents that are not in English or French must be translated before they are submitted to the College and/or a credentials evaluation agency. You must provide your original documents plus a precise word-for-word translation in English or French. This must be a certified translation, accompanied by a cover letter from an accredited translator including:

  • The exact name of the document(s) which has been translated.
  • The method by which the accredited translator received the document(s).
  • Any comments about the accuracy of your documents.
  • The date of the translation.
  • The accredited translator’s identification number and/or seal.

It is up to you to arrange and pay for translation, copying and mailing costs.

To find an accredited translator, contact The Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario, ATIO at 1-800-234-5030 or email info@atio.on.ca.

Citizenship

Only Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada can practise social work or social service work in Ontario, unless authorized under Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. If you are uncertain as to whether you currently meet this requirement, please contact the Registration Department at registration@ocswssw.org.

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

If you are authorized to practise social work or social service work under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, you must submit a copy of your valid work permit issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada as part of your registration for application.

After a review of your work permit, if the Registrar is satisfied that the other requirements for registration have been met, you may be asked to sign an Undertaking, Agreement and Acknowledgement (UAA) before a certificate of registration is issued to you. By signing the UAA, you undertake and agree that you will comply with the conditions imposed on your work permit and will notify the College about any changes or updates to your work permit.

Consent to the Release of Information from the Register for Research Purposes

As part of your registration for application, you will be asked to indicate if you consent to the release of information pertaining to you for the purpose of research. If you do not complete this section, the College will assume that you do not consent. Completion of this section enables the College to respond to requests for information contained in the Online Register from persons or organizations conducting research. In accordance with the policy approved by Council respecting such requests, with your consent, the only information contained in the Online Register that may be released includes some or all of the following:

  • your name;
  • category of membership;
  • name of your business or employer;
  • your business address; and
  • your business telephone number.

Academic Qualifications

As part of the application process, you are asked to list the academic qualifications you have obtained from a social work or social service work program or equivalent program.

It is your responsibility to contact the academic institution(s) from which you graduated and request that transcripts be forwarded directly to the College. The College will only accept transcripts directly from the academic institution.

If your social work program has been submitted to the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) for an evaluation, ensure that the CASW forwards the written evaluation directly to the College. In this case, an official transcript from your academic institution is not required.

Currency of Practice of Social Work or Social Service Work

Applicants who obtained their academic qualifications for registration with the College more than five years ago are required to satisfy the currency requirement. This requirement, set out in the registration regulation made under the Social Work and Social Service Work Act, 1998, is as follows:

The applicant must have engaged in the practice of social work or social service work within the five years immediately before the date of the application or otherwise satisfy the Registrar that they are competent to perform the role of a social worker or social service worker.

The Registrar typically would consider that you have engaged in the practice of social work or social service work within the last five years if your practice falls within the scope of practice for social work or social service work.

Note: This requirement does not apply to applicants who have obtained the qualifications required for registration with the College within the five years before the date of application.

If you have not practised social work or social service work within the five years before your application date, and the Registrar is satisfied that the other registration requirements have been met, the Registrar may propose to issue a certificate of registration with terms, conditions and limitations (TCL). The TCL may impose, among other things, a period of supervised practice. In these circumstances, the Registrar may issue a certificate of registration with TCL, provided that you have consented to the TCL.

For more information about the currency requirement, please email Registration.

Membership in Any Other Regulatory Body

You must disclose whether you are currently, or have ever been, a member of a professional association or other body that has self-regulatory responsibility, in relation to the practice of social work, social service work or any other profession, in this province or any other jurisdiction.

As part of the application process, you must provide information regarding your membership in every such association or body, including the name and address of the association or body, dates of membership, and registration number.

Please note that this does not include membership in a professional association such as the Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW), the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) or the Ontario Social Service Worker Association (OSSWA).

Professional Conduct and Health

If you answered “Yes” to any of the questions relating to Professional Conduct and Health (other than the question relating to physical or mental condition or disorder), you must include an explanation and any relevant supporting documentation as part of your application for registration.

If you answered “Yes” to the question relating to having a physical or mental condition or disorder that could affect your ability to practise social work or social service work in a safe manner, you must include an explanation regarding the ways in which your physical or mental condition or disorder could affect your ability to practise in a safe manner.

FAQs with further information about this requirement are now available on the College website.


Individuals Applying for Registration Both as a Registered Social Worker and a Registered Social Service Worker

If you wish to apply for registration in both the social work category and the social service work category, you must complete two applications and, submit two application fees. Only one registration fee is required.

Please note: Members are eligible to vote in only one membership category as part of the College’s Council election process. During a Council election, you may be asked to specify which membership category you prefer to vote if you are issued certificates of registration in both the social work and social service work categories.

The College membership year is January 1 to December 31.


Application and Registration Fees

Fee Chart

General Registration Fees

Registration Fee – $360.00
Application Fee** – $100.00
Total Amount – $460.00

Registration Fees for new graduates from a social work or social service work program

Registration Fee* – $260.00
Application Fee** – $100.00
Total Amount – $360.00

* The registration fee for graduates of social work or social service work programs who apply for registration in the College no later than December 31 of the year in which they graduate. Note: the application must be received by the College on or before December 31 of that year.
** Non-refundable

You are eligible for a $100 membership fee exemption for the first two years of membership immediately following registration if your application for registration is received by the College no later than December 31st of the year you obtain your social work degree or social service worker diploma. If you fail to pay the annual fee prior to the date on which the late penalty is effective in the first year of membership, you may not be eligible for the exemption in the subsequent year. This new graduate fee exemption also applies to those graduating with a Certificate in Social Work Practice from the Internationally Educated Social Work Professionals Program at Ryerson University.


Application Processing Times

The application process takes approximately three to six weeks to complete, once all of the required documentation for your application, including payment of your registration and application fees, have been received.

The application process can be delayed if the College does not receive all of the required documents from you or from a third party on your behalf (i.e. academic institution, employer, etc.).

Important note: The typical time for processing an application based on having a combination of academic qualifications and experience performing the role of a social worker or social service worker is approximately eight months.  These applications are complex and receive a detailed review.  Currently the College is experiencing an exceedingly high volume of applications which may affect the timelines for evaluation. Please contact equivalency@ocswssw.org for more information.

Variables that May Slow Down the Registration/Evaluation Process

Any of the following circumstances would slow down the registration/evaluation process:

  • Incomplete paper-based applications – Please double check your application before sending it to the College to ensure that it is completed in full.
  • Receiving any/all transcripts from the applicant and not directly from the educational institution(s).
  • Receiving transcripts lacking information (e.g., no indication if a degree/diploma was conferred/transfer credits without any indication as to what credit value they carry).
  • When applicable, not receiving the academic institution’s official course descriptions for courses completed and taken in the year(s), which are confirmed on the transcript(s).
  • When applicable, not providing a third-party evaluation assessment, which includes a “Credential Equivalency/Authentication Report and a Course-by-Course Analysis”, directly to the College.
  • Failure to provide additional documents requested by the College.
  • Receipt of additional documents in a language other than English or French.

The Registrar’s Review

Upon review of the application for registration and any supporting documents, the Registrar may:

  1. Determine that you have met the requirements set out in the registration regulation and issue a certificate of registration to you.
  2. Issue a certificate of registration to you subject to terms, conditions or limitations to which you have consented.
  3. Determine that you have not met the requirements set out in the registration regulation and propose to refuse to issue a certificate of registration to you.
  4. Propose to impose terms, conditions or limitations on a certificate of registration to which you have not consented.