Equity and Inclusion Data

On September 9, 2022, College Council passed a motion to approve in principle an Equity and Inclusion Data Policy to collect race-based and other demographic data from members on a voluntary basis. It is anticipated this initiative will be launched in the 2024 renewal season, which will begin in late November 2023.

Race-based and other demographic data will measure the College’s progress in relation to its strategic priorities around diversity, equity and inclusion and provide insight into the degree to which the diversity of the Ontario public is reflected in College membership. This decision is also based on the fundamental principle that only what is measured can be effectively understood and improved.

The Equity and Inclusion Data Policy will also ensure that there are safeguards in place regarding the collection, retention and use of this data. To protect members’ privacy, the data will be reported in aggregate only, and there will be careful and ongoing reflection as to how the data will be used

The College is currently undertaking consultations with key stakeholders on the Equity and Inclusion Policy and wording of the Equity and Inclusion Questions. Stay tuned as members will have an opportunity to provide feedback in early 2023.

On this page:

  • Development and implementation
  • Related FAQs

Development and implementation

In December 2021, the College Council approved the recommendation of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Task Group that the College begin to collect race-based and other demographic data on a voluntary basis, as part of the annual renewal process.  The Equity and Inclusion Data Policy, which was developed through an extensive and rigorous process and which supports this decision, was approved in principle by the College Council on September 9, 2022.

Following an anticipated launch in the 2024 renewal season, members will be asked to provide sociodemographic data on a voluntary basis when they renew their membership. The equity and inclusion questions will be completely voluntary; members who choose not to answer any of these questions will still be able to complete the renewal process. No program, service or benefit will be withheld if members do not answer the questions.

Members’ privacy is of utmost importance to the College, and data will be stored in a secure system and only reported in the aggregate. This is in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Anti-Racism Act.

Asking members to provide sociodemographic data will enable the College to engage in data-driven decision-making and to develop benchmarks and indicators against which it can:

  • measure the effectiveness of its own strategic priorities for advancing diversity, equity and inclusion;
  • assess the degree to which its membership reflects the Ontario public it serves; and
  • identify systemic barriers and address discrimination within the regulatory context and within the professions of social work and social service work more broadly.

Updates on the implementation plan will be posted on this webpage as they become available. Please contact the Communications Department at communications@ocswssw.org for inquiries related to the Equity and Inclusion Data initiative.

Related FAQs
  • To safeguard members’ privacy, the data will be reported in aggregate only, and there will be careful and ongoing reflection as to how the data will be used. The College expects to use the data to:

    • inform strategies for improvement across College processes with respect to diversity, equity and inclusion;
    • provide a benchmark with respect to the College’s work on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives; and
    • give an indication of the demographics of the membership which would assist the College in determining whether it is reflective of the Ontario public served by its members.

    These priorities may be modified or added to based on the trends and issues revealed in the data.

    Specifics as to how the data will be used will be determined once the data is collected; these may include, among other things, the development of resources to support members who provide services to diverse clients and communities

  • It is important for us to know who our members are so that we can have a benchmark of demographic statistics and determine the degree to which College membership is reflective of the diverse communities served by members. This will allow the College to monitor, measure and address gaps and trends and, in turn, assist us in advancing our important priorities around diversity, equity and inclusion.

  • Yes. Members will be invited to provide their feedback in early 2023. More information on how to participate will be sent out via an eBulletin at that time.

  • When a member renews their membership, they will be asked if they are willing to answer sociodemographic questions. This will happen each year during the renewal season.

  • No. Members will be asked if to provide race-based and other demographic data on a voluntary basis. Members may also withdraw their consent and request that the College delete or stop using their personal information at any time. No program, service or benefit will be withheld because a member chooses not to provide the personal information requested.

  • Yes, members will be able to change or remove their personal information.

  • While the College is not mandated to follow the data standards set out by the Anti-Racism Act (ARA), the general principles of the ARA have helped guide the creation of the policy which the College will be following.

    The ARA data standards provide a framework for the Ontario government to identify and eliminate systemic racism and advance racial equity in the province. More information on the Anti-Racism Data Standards as set out in the ARA can be found on their website.

  • The development of the Equity and Inclusion Data Policy was guided by the constitutional and legal principles of:

    • the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;
    • the Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code);
    • Ontario’s Anti-Racism Act;
    • the Canadian Institute for Health Information; and,
    • the calls to action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, especially the call to collect data so that progress towards Reconciliation can be effectively measured.
  • Yes, the equity and inclusion data provided by members will be kept confidential. The data will be kept in a secure system, and access to the information will be restricted to College staff who require access for the purpose of reporting aggregate information and analyzing trends.