Social workers and social service workers, as regulated professionals, have a number of obligations. Some of these obligations are:

  • To renew their registration with the College annually, and pay the annual fee in a timely manner;
  • To inform the College of any changes to their personal and professional information within thirty days of the change;
  • To provide employers and the public with their registration number upon request;
    To practise according to the minimum standards set out in the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice Handbook, 2nd Edition, 2008;
  • To ensure that they are continuing to learn and develop as professionals by completing the requirements of the Continuing Competence Program (CCP); and
  • To comply with mandatory reporting obligations set out in the SWSSWA.

The Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice

The Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice Handbook, 2nd Edition, 2008 sets out the minimum standards of practice for all members of the College. The standards are meant to be applied to members’ practice in conjunction with any applicable legislation and with their professional judgement.

The 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.

The 1983 and the 1994 Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) Codes of Ethics have been used with the permission of CASW. The Social Work Code of Ethics (1994) adopted by the CASW Board of Directors is effective January 1, 1994 and replaces the CASW Code of Ethics (1983).

The Standards of Practice:

  • set out the minimum standards of professional practice and conduct for all members,
  • serve as the basis for sound and ethical practice, and
  • help to guide and assess the professional behaviour of members if their practice is called into question.

The standards of practice expand upon the Code of Ethics. Code of Ethics Standards of Practice Handbook, 2nd Edition, 2008 is organized into 8 Principles which cover:

Principle I: Relationship with Clients
Principle II: Competence and Integrity
Principle III: Responsibility to Clients
Principle IV: The Social Word and Social Service Work Record
Principle V: Confidentiality
Principle VI: Fees
Principle VII: Advertising
Principle VIII: Sexual Misconduct

You can download a copy of the Code of Ethics Standards of Practice Handbook – 2nd Edition, 2008 to your own computer.