Code of Ethics & Standards of Practice

The Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice Handbook sets out minimum standards of professional practice and conduct for members of the OCSWSSW. This is in accordance with one of the objects of the College as stated in the Social Work and Social Service Work Act, 1998 “to establish and enforce professional standards and ethical standards applicable to members of the College”. For the purposes of the Act (Section 26), and the Professional Misconduct Regulation (Ontario Regulation 384/00), these standards have been approved in a by-law of the College as standards of practice for its members. The Standards of Practice are meant to be applied to members’ practice in conjunction with any applicable legislation and with their professional judgment.

Download a copy of the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice
Handbook – 2nd Edition
, effective July 1, 2008 to your own computer.

Includes Amendments to the Standards of Practice, effective October 1, 2010, February 13, 2011 and May 6, 2015.

Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers Code of Ethics:

  1. A social worker or social service worker shall maintain the best interest of the client as the primary professional obligation;
  2. A social worker or social service worker shall respect the intrinsic worth of the persons she or he serves in her or his professional relationships with them;
  3. A social worker or social service worker shall carry out her or his professional duties and obligations with integrity and objectivity;
  4. A social worker or social service worker shall have and maintain competence in the provision of a social work or social service work service to a client;
  5. A social worker or social service worker shall not exploit the relationship with a client for personal benefit, gain or gratification;
  6. A social worker or social service worker shall protect the confidentiality of all professionally acquired information. He or she shall disclose such information only when required or allowed by law to do so, or when clients have consented to disclosure;
  7. A social worker or social service worker who engages in another profession, occupation, affiliation or calling shall not allow these outside interests to affect the social work or social service work relationship with the client;
  8. A social worker or social service worker shall not provide social work or social service work services in a manner that discredits the profession of social work or social service work or diminishes the public’s trust in either profession;
  9. A social worker or social service worker shall advocate for workplace conditions and policies that are consistent with this Code of Ethics and the Standards of Practice of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers;
  10. A social worker or social service worker shall promote excellence in his or her respective profession;
  11. A social worker or social service worker shall advocate change in the best interest of the client, and for the overall benefit of society, the environment and the global community.