Call for Proposals 2020 Extended

NEW Deadline for submissions is March 15, 2020 at 11:59 PM

A changing political and social landscape, increasing complexity of client needs and advances in 
technology are all factors that are currently impacting and shaping the future of social work across sectors. Social workers are leaders in assessing the current environment and developing innovative responses to meet diverse needs.

Therefore, the theme for the OASW Provincial Social Work Conference 2020, Innovative Approaches to Complex Needs: Social Workers Influencing the Future of Care, provides valuable space to share, discuss and amplify these approaches at all levels of practice, research and education and enhance our collective capacity to improve the future of care and social justice.

Inspired by the overall theme of the conference, the following subthemes have been designed to capture and allow for engagement on social work innovation across sectors while maintaining a
forward leaning focus in discussion. We welcome creative and innovative proposals in French and English under the following broad subthemes:

1. Diversity, Equity and Human Rights
Valuing diversity in all its forms are key mechanisms to achieving the overall goals of inclusion and equity. This calls upon us to collectively and critically examine how we partner and engage with clients, communities and systems to address the social determinants of health, promote diversity in leadership, advocate for human rights and participate in advancing anti-racist and Indigenous social work practice.

2. Digital Transformation in Social Work
Digital counselling, therapeutic apps, artificial intelligence (AI) in the delivery of social services, big data and the use of social media to drive broad social change initiatives are all examples of how rapid advances in technology are changing the face of social work. This presents both challenges and opportunities for social work and the need for important discussions on technology and the future of the profession.

3. Innovative Social Work Approaches
Whether it be in direct practice, advocacy, community development, policy, education or research, social workers are leading change across systems and sectors through innovative approaches to practice, creative partnerships and unique collaborations. Working together to learn about these and replicate success to improve outcomes for those we serve is central to providing high quality care.

Presentation Formats
All conference sessions will be 75 minutes in length and have the possibility of spanning sessions (except for Poster Presentations). We welcome flexible, innovative and creative approaches in
presentations beyond those described below. We encourage submissions from students, practitioners, policy makers, researchers and academics alike.

Poster Presentations
Posters are a valuable tool for knowledge exchange on topics such as innovative approaches to practice and policy to the results of relevant research and studies. Posters presenters are asked to
participate in a designated Poster Session (approximately 40 minutes in length) that will allow you time to interact with attendees about the content of your poster. For more information on developing an effective poster presentation see OASW’s Guide on How to Create Effective Posters.

Workshops can be designed to introduce the audience to a particular intervention, method or technique. Ideally, workshops should be interactive in nature and provide attendees with evidence-based information, tools and resources for skill building.

Panel Discussions
Panel discussions can provide useful high-level overviews and introductions to topics or issues of concern to the profession. Ideally, panel discussions should include at least 2-3 speakers with subject matter expertise on the topic/issue.

Dialogue Circles
Adopted from Indigenous cultures, Dialogue Circles have been used by Indigenous people from around the world for centuries to build respectful relationships, learn from a collective group and to preserve and pass on cultural knowledge (Queensland Studies Authority, 2010). Dialogue Circles are led by a facilitator(s) and allow a space for engagement on a particular topic while exploring viewpoints with mutual respect.

Guidelines for Submitting a Proposal
We ask that you submit your proposal through the following link:
**If you would like to submit your proposal in another format, please contact Vanessa Rankin, Research and Policy Manager at:

NEW Deadline for submissions is March 15, 2020 at 11:59 PM.

All submissions should reflect the conference theme and/or subthemes and include:

  • Title and 250-word abstract.
  • Identification of lead presenter and full names of all presenters with credentials and contact information.
  • Description of presentation format and audio/visual equipment required. *Please note that a laptop, projector, screen, internet access and basic speakers will be available in each presentation space.
  • Description of relevance/fit with conference theme/subtheme(s) (not included in the word count).
  • Description of challenges and opportunities for social work practice, research and/or education and how you suggest building capacity and impact connected to this (not included in the word count).
  • 40-word summary for the Conference Program.

Process for Proposal Review
All submissions will receive a double blind, peer-review. 

Submissions will be assessed for:

  • Relevance to the conference theme and subthemes.
  • Clarity of writing.
  • Clarity of approach.
  • Implications for social work practice, education and/or research.

Notifications of acceptance will be emailed in early April 2020 to the lead presenter only.

Presenter Requirements & Expectations

  • All accepted presenter(s) are asked to submit a PDF copy of their poster or electronic materials such as PowerPoint Slides and handouts no later than 10 business days before the conference. Notice of these deadlines will be provided when proposals are accepted.
  • All presenters must be available to present at any time during the conference. We regret we will be unable to accommodate scheduling requests.
  • All presenters of accepted proposals will be required to register for the conference. A reduced fee for presenters will be available.

For questions, please contact Vanessa Rankin, Research and Policy Manager at