Video 2: What Do I Need to Know About the College?

The Social Work and Social Service Work Act, 1998

Our College is the regulatory body for social workers and social service workers in Ontario. It was created when the province fully proclaimed the Social Work and Social Service Work Act, 1998, which sets out the role and powers of the College, including the statutory responsibilities of the College, Council, Registrar and statutory committees. We are accountable to the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.

What is the College’s mandate?

Our primary mandate is to serve and protect the public interest. The College reviews all matters using a public protection lens and fulfills this by:

  • Setting entry-to-practice requirements to ensure that only those with specialized educational qualifications are eligible for registration.
  • Setting, maintaining and ensuring that all registrants follow the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.
  • Maintaining a Public Register of registered social workers (RSWs) and registered social service workers (RSSWs) in Ontario.
  • Requiring registrants to engage in ongoing learning through the Continuing Competence Program (CCP).
  • Maintaining rigorous complaints and discipline processes to protect the public from unqualified, incompetent and unfit practitioners.

What is professional self-regulation?

  • Self-regulation is implemented through the proclamation of legislation that establishes a profession-specific regulatory body
  • The delegation of power by the Government of Ontario to a profession to regulate its peers
  • The purpose of self-regulation is to promote and protect the public interest, not to enhance the status of the profession – not to be confused with a professional association that provides advocacy resources for social workers and social service workers

What is title protection?

  • Only registrants may use the protected titles “social worker” or “registered social worker” or “social service worker” or “registered social service worker” or the French equivalents
  • No person shall represent or hold out expressly or by implication that he or she is a social worker or a social service worker

Please note: Throughout the OCSWSSW’s website and documents, the term “member” and “registrant” are used interchangeably and synonymously as equivalent to the term “member” as used in the Social Work and Social Service Work Act, 1998, and the Regulations.