Virtual Networking Groups - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a virtual networking group?
An online community where members  share information, share resources, discuss the latest developments in their employment sector, network and problem-solve. Virtual groups can also provide valuable feedback to the Association on emerging social work issues. Groups are moderated in order to help stimulate conversation.

How many virtual networking groups does OASW host?
OASW hosts the following groups:

  • Social Workers in Family Health Teams
  • Social Workers in Auto Insurance Disability (MVA) sector
  • Social Workers  in Northern Region
  • Social Workers in Private Practice (Group A) (with 5 years or less experience in private practice)
  • Social Workers in Private Practice (Group B) (with 5 years or less experience in private practice)
  • Promoting our Social Work Practice (Blogger)
  • Self Care for Social Workers
  • Social Workers in Private Practice - Eastern Region
  • Social Workers Whose Work Involves Trauma
How do I join a virtual group?
Email Anna Loi @ [email protected] with the name of the group you wish to join, OASW membership number and/or full name. You will receive a welcome message when your name has been added to the group.

*Note that you must be an active OASW member to participate in any virtual networking group. 

What is the moderator's role?
The moderator of each group will often pose questions or invite feedback on particular issues. Other times, the moderator will circulate information and resources of interest to the group. The moderator may also bring issues to the attention of the OASW Provincial Office as the need arises (e.g., if new legislation is being proposed that impacts on clients or the role of social workers in this sector). As well, the moderator may establish rules and
guidelines so that the conversation moves along.

Some groups may have rotating moderators and/or guest moderators.

How do I post a question?
Once you've subscribed, using the email address you signed up with send a message to the group address. By sending a message to the one address, your message will be circulated to everyone on the list.

What type of information can I share with the group?
Group members can share information, discuss the latest developments in their sector, network and problem-solve. Members are encouraged to provide related links and resources.

In a survey of the first two OASW virtual groups, members indicated that they valued most: information-sharing (94%), professional support/problem-solving (60%), networking (51%), the opportunity to provide input on issues (49%) and information general discussion (46%).

Is this an appropriate forum to raise issues that come up with my clients?
For reasons of security and privacy, virtual groups may not be the best forum to raise specific clinical issues. Participants should note that the messages sent through the group are archived and can be accessed by group members over time. Care should be taken to disguise the identity of clients, groups or companies (e.g., insurance companies).

Are the virtual groups anonymous or can other participants tell where comments or questions come from?
No, the groups are not anonymous. Your e-mail address will appear when you post to the group.

Can I respond to just one person, rather than the whole group?
In most cases, it is recommended that you send your message to the whole group. However, you can choose to respond to one person rather than the whole group. Click on "Reply" to reply to the person who sent the message.

Is it OK to just read the discussion and not actively participate?

How you participate is up to you. Some group members participate more actively by sending messages, asking questions, and circulating information. Others choose to simply read the messages that get sent. Even if you usually don't participate, do not hesitate to pose a question or circulate information if you believe it would be of interest to the group.

What do I do if the conversation gets repetitive?
Like any group discussion, members are encouraged to respond to the comments of others, but to refrain from repeating comments that have already been made. Encourage newcomers to view the archives. If the conversation starts to get repetitive, suggest a new topic for discussion.

Why am I not receiving regular messages?
Some weeks your virtual group may be active (if there is a "hot" issue), other weeks it may be fairly quiet. Visit the archives and if there are topics that have not been addressed recently, consider posing a question to the group.

How do I access the archives for this group?
Each virtual group has its own archive that can only be accessed by members of the group.

Visit (e.g. oasw-PPA-l) to access the archives.

You will need the password that was emailed to you when you first joined the group (a reminder email is sent to you on a monthly basis).

If you can't find your password, you can request that it be emailed to you by visiting

If you encounter any difficulties, contact [email protected].

How do I change my email address where I receive these messages?
Email [email protected] to get your emailed updated/changed. Note, you can only participate with the email you sign up with.

Note OASW will consider hosting other virtual groups depending on member interest. If there is a topic that is of interest, contact [email protected] with a proposal which could be circulated in an upcoming email bulletin.