What are the services provided by social workers? 
Social workers help people of all ages, backgrounds, and income levels to resolve problems that affect their day-today lives. 
Social workers help improve lives by: 
Ø helping individuals, families, and communities find answers to questions;
Ø offering problem-solving tools and resources, and 
Ø providing psychotherapy/counselling. 

Social workers help people recognize and use their own strengths so they can confidently manage real-life issues. Social workers are an essential part of a vibrant, just, and healthy society. 

More specifically, the types of services provided can include psychotherapy and counselling associated with relationship problems, adjusting to life crises, abuse, stress management, anxiety and depression, addictions, caregiver burden and elder care, grief and loss, bullying, and suicide prevention. Social workers also connect individuals and families to important resources. 

These services are available through numerous publicly funded health and social service agencies and organizations. Many social workers also have private practices and can be hired privately. 

How do I know if a social worker can help me? 
The expertise of a social worker can be helpful at many points in an individual’s life. 
A social worker can provide psychotherapy and counselling which will help you: 
Ø identify and understand the source of stress or difficulty 
Ø improve coping skills and find effective solutions to your problems 
Ø find needed resources 

What sort of questions might a social worker ask me?
While every circumstance is unique, sample questions a social worker may ask during a first appointment include: 
Ø Why are you seeking help? 
Ø Is it a new or long-standing problem? 
Ø Have things changed and, if so, how? 
Ø How are you managing other parts of your life? 
Ø Who can you count on for support?

Social workers work in a variety of settings: family services agencies, hospitals and clinics, mental health settings, school boards, correctional institutions, children’s aid agencies, services for seniors, and employee assistance programs. An increasing number of social workers work in private practice. 

Visit www.FindASocialWorker.ca to find a social worker today.

To access public services, dial 211 or visit www.211ontario.ca for a list of community information and referral services across Ontario. 

Do I need a referral to see a social worker? 
No, you do not need to have a referral to see a social worker, but you may wish to discuss this issue with your doctor who can certainly refer you to a social worker. In some cases, this may allow you to receive coverage under an employee extended health plan or to receive free public services from your Family Health Team. 

As well, you may access the services of social workers through many agencies and organizations that are funded directly or indirectly by governments (municipal, provincial or federal) and/or by charitable donations. You can also seek out the services of a social worker in private practice without a referral. 

Are social work services covered by OHIP? 
Hospitals and other health/mental health settings cover social work services under Ontario’s Health Care Plan (OHIP). Additionally, the services of social workers who work in community agencies are often provided at no charge or on a sliding scale. Examples of publicly-funded organizations are hospitals, community agencies serving adults, children and youth, family services and schools. 

Seeking social work services privately: 
Social work services provided by private practitioners are billed by the hour. They may be covered under a private health plan or employee group benefits plan. More and more insurance companies will cover social work services in individual policies or group health plans, upon request. If social work is not currently on the list of professional services covered in your insurance plan, ask your employer or union that it be added when the policy comes up for renewal.


What education do you need to be designated a social worker in Ontario? 

Social workers have specific education, training and expertise which make them uniquely qualified to deliver a range of counselling and psychotherapy services. Social workers also look at all aspects of a person’s life (personal, family, work or schools and community) when helping people, which can prove especially relevant in complex situations. 

Education & Training: Social workers have university degrees in social work: Bachelor of Social Work (BSW); Master’s in Social Work (MSW); and a Doctorate in Social Work (PhD/DSW).  Social workers may also have additional training in specialized areas of practice. 

Registered Social Workers (RSW) Designation: 
To be called a social worker, the individual must be registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW).