Differences between the Association (OASW) & the College (OCSWSSW)

What is the role of a Professional Association?

Professional associations provide a "voice" for the profession they represent. This voice reflects the values, interests and concerns of the profession. All major professions have professional associations. In Ontario, the role of professional associations is separate and distinct from the role of professional regulatory bodies. To learn more about the role of the regulatory body for social workers in Ontario, visit www.ocswssw.org .

What is the unique role of OASW? 

  • Providing critical analysis of provincial government social policies
  • Advocating for reforms to policies and programs to ensure that all members of the community have the same basic rights, protections, opportunities and social benefits
  • Providing critical analysis of government policies and practice that impact on social work practice
  • Advocating on behalf of the profession when there are threats or impingements on practice
  • Enhancing the understanding of the role of social workers by the public, the media, government and other professions
  • Providing professional practice and employment supports, as well as tangible and intangible benefits to members

How are activities financed?

Activities undertaken on behalf of the profession are financed by membership fees and the sale of products and services.

Who is eligible to join OASW?

OASW membership is open to graduates or students of Canadian university social work education programs accredited by the Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work and graduates of other university social work programs recognized as equivalent and/or Registered Social Workers in Ontario. As well, applicants must live, work or study in Ontario at the time of application. 

Why should I join OASW?

As society becomes increasingly complex, social workers, more so than ever before, need a strong, articulate voice speaking on their behalf. The strength of OASW's voice and the issues it can address are dependent upon the commitment of individual social workers to support the work of OASW through membership. Join OASW: to support professional and social advocacy initiatives to keep informed on current issues related to social work practice to access professional development and employment opportunities, including access to www.socialworkjobs.ca  to network with social workers in similar fields of practice to get advice on workplace issues, and to be eligible for special services and benefits available only to members (e.g., substantially discounted professional liability insurance).

Should I belong to both OASW and the College?

Yes, OASW and OCSWSSW play separate and distinct roles. The interests and concerns of the profession are served by belonging to both organizations.