Previous Professional Focus News Items

Hear AGM Guest Speakers Faye Mishna & Marion Bogo's Presentation: 
"It Has Crept In": The Digital Social Media World and Implications for Social Work Practice
News Reported on September 5, 2013

Hear AGM Guest Speakers Faye Mishna & Marion Bogo's Presentation:
"It Has Crept In": The Digital Social Media World and Implications for Social Work Practice

Click hyperlinks to start the video segments (12 to 15 minutes each). 

2013 AGM Part 1                   
2013 AGM Part 2                                        
2013 AGM Part 3                            
2013 AGM Part 4

Social Workers are now approved for the medical expense tax credit

News Reported on October 1, 2012

OASW is pleased to announce that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has notified us that, as of September 26, 2012, Social Workers are now approved for the medical expense tax credit. This means that Social Workers are now authorized "medical practitioners" for the purpose of claiming medical expenses on income tax returns. Find more information at the following link: www.cra.gc.ca/medical

As you know, OASW has for many years advocated for the inclusion of Social Workers on the list of authorized practitioners under the Income Tax Act. This is an important achievement for both the profession and for members of the public who purchase clinical services from social workers. If you are not already doing so, we encourage private practitioners to include your College registration number on all receipts to clients as CRA as well as insurance companies will seek proof that you are an RSW.  

Please review the PDF below if you wish to provide to your clients or potential clients with the proper documentation alerting them to the medical expense tax

Social Workers in the Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Sector

News Reported on August 14, 2012

On August 10, 2012, OASW made a written submission in response to the Superintendent's Report on the Definition of "Catastrophic Impairment" in the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule of the Insurance Act published in December 2011 (made available to the public in June 2012). The stated intention of the proposed amendments to the definition "are to improve the fairness, accuracy and predictability of the process for determining catastrophic impairments by introducing elements of evidence- based medicine into the Ontario automobile insurance system".  OASW restricted its response to four recommendations made by the Superintendent, that, if implemented in their current form, we believe will in fact serve to impede consumers' who are seriously injured access to significant medical, rehabilitation and care benefits under the SABS.  To review OASW's response see PDF below.

We would like to recognize and thank the following OASW members for their efforts in making this response possible: Kim Doogan for her expertise and leadership as the primary author of this submission and Marla Feldman and Carl Lokko for reviewing and providing feedback and content to enhance the document. 

Download a copy of OASW's Role Statement and Procedures for Social Workers in the MVA Sector, attached below.

If you wish to join the OASW virtual group for social workers in the MVA sector, contact Anna @ membership2@oasw.org.

To join the roster of social workers qualified to conduct IEs, go to www.FindASocialWorker.ca, OASW's online private practice directory, and click on
 List Yourself (there is an annual fee to post on Find A Social Worker, unless you have PROLINK liability insurance, click here to learn more about PROLINK sponsoring Find A Social Worker listings). Choose Insurer Examinations Assessor as one of your specialties. 

Auto Insurance Submission
(Adobe PDF File)

Social Workers: Key Players in the Provision of Mental Health and Addictions Services
News Reported on May 28, 2012

OASW's Mental Health Advisory Group has recently completed a position paper which articulates the important and diverse roles that social workers play within mental health and addiction services.  The document highlights the role of the profession as it relates to: the Social Determinants of Health; navigating systems; strengthening informal and community supports to aid recovery; challenging inequities and stigma; and contributing to interprofessional teams.  The paper also focuses attention on the profession's interventions with five populations: older adults and their families; youth; individuals with concurrent disorders; those within the criminal justice system; and involvement with indigenous populations. To download this position paper, see PDF below.

On May 8th, the Mental Health Commission of Canada released Changing Directions, Changing Lives, the first mental health strategy for Canada. Its purpose is to help improve mental health and well-being for all people living in Canada and to create a mental health system that can truly meet the needs of people of all ages living with mental health problems and illnesses and their families. To find out more, click: http://strategy.mentalhealthcommission.ca.

Response to the Re-circulated Statutory Consultations on 
Draft Registration Regulation under the Psychotherapy Act, 2007

News Reported on March 29, 2012

On March 2, 2012, OASW submitted a written response to the re-circulation of the draft Registration Regulation under the Psychotherapy Act, 2007, as part of a second round of stakeholder consultations being undertaken by the Transitional Council of the new College.  Our response expanded upon comments contained in our September 2011 submission related to the draft Registration Regulation.  The recent consultation sought input related to competency profiles for Registered Mental Health Therapists (RMHT) as well as Registered Psychotherapists (RP), and granting RMHTs the right to practice independently.  

OASW continued to voice serious concerns about a "competency-based approach" as outlined in the draft Registration Regulation, and further articulated in the Competency Profiles, which we believe creates the potential for the lowering of standards of practice for counselling and psychotherapy services.  Our response emphasized that the academic bar has been set very low for the two new professions as a platform upon which to build additional clinical knowledge and skills, i.e., a two-year diploma from a community college for RMHTs and an undergraduate degree for RPs.

OASW supported the position taken by many other stakeholder groups that the academic requirement for both RMHTs and RPs should be raised to a master's degree or the substantial equivalent.

OASW's March 2012 response, PDF below.
OASW September 2011 response, PDF below.

Social Work Skills & Knowledge in Health Care
News Reported on March 9, 2012

To coincide with Social Work Week 2012, OASW is launching a one-page chart outlining "Social Work Skills & Knowledge in Health Care". The purpose of the chart is to assist social workers, when talking with non-social workers, to use simple, clear language that is relatively free of jargon when describing: 

The profession's core skills and knowledge, and
Indicators of these skills and knowledge in professional judgment and practice.
The chart is a tool that can be adapted for different settings depending upon where you work and for different audiences such as employers, colleagues, funders, politicians and members of the public.  The chart is not intended to provide a complete list of social work skills and knowledge.    

To view the full chart please see Social Work Skills & Knowledge in Health Care PDF below.

The chart can be used in conjunction with the following related OASW documents (all attached as PDF's below)

Role Statements:
Role of Social Work in Hospital-Based Health Care
Role of Social Work in Community-Based Health Care (2005)
Role of Social Work in Primary Health Care
Role of Social Work in Mental Health
Role Statement and Procedures for Social Workers in the Motor Vehicle Accident Sector (2012)     

Position Papers:
Social Work, Primary Care and Family Health Teams in Ontario: Delivering Comprehensive Family-Centered Care (2005)
Social Workers: Addressing the Needs of Patients and Families in a Changing Healthcare System (2009)
Social Workers: Key Players in the Provision of Mental Health and Addictions Services (2012)   

OASW wishes to gratefully acknowledge the extensive work undertaken by the Research Working Group, a subcommittee of OASW's Health Care Advisory Group.  They reviewed social work skills/core competencies documents; OCSWSSW's Scope of Practice of the Social Work Profession; Canadian Association of Social Work Education's (CASWE) Accreditation Standards; OASW's Role Statements; and other relevant materials which served as the foundation for the development of the chart.  We also recognize the ongoing contribution of OASW's Advisory Groups* and individual members, whose knowledge and expertise contributed to the development of highly valued role statements and position papers. 

*OASW's Advisory Groups are composed of social work practitioners, academics and managers/administrators. 

OASW Mental Health Position Paper 2012, refer to:
Social Workers: Key Players in the Provision of Mental Health and Addictions Services

YouTube Videos:
The Face of Social Work in Ontario – We Want Your Feedback

News Reported on March 5, 2012

In March 2012, OASW released three 46-second videos which convey the positive impact of social work. 

Hope Video

Audrey Video 

Emily Video 

We would appreciate your feedback: Click https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/OASW-video12  to tell us what you think. 

The stories highlighted in the videos are adapted from submissions provided by members who responded to our call to "Help OASW Tell Your Story". The photos are of social workers who also responded to our call and they demonstrate the presence and diverse nature of our profession. The intent of the videos is to convey the importance of our work, to educate people about what we do, and to inspire pride in social workers everywhere. 

We encourage you to distribute the links to the videos widely - to colleagues, managers, employers, family and friends.

Letter to Editor: Use of Title "Social Worker"
News Reported on September 9, 2011

In June 2011, OASW wrote to the Editor of the Ottawa Sun to challenge a number of inaccurate and misleading comments made in an article related to a homeless shelter, as well as to clarify that the title "social worker" is a professional designation and not a generic term.

Subsequently, the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers also wrote to the newspaper.

To read OASW's letter please see PDF below.

Annual Report of Professional Advocacy Initiatives
News Reported on June 24, 2011

OASW published its 2010-2011 Annual Report on June 10, 2011. 

This contains a report on OASW Professional Advocacy Initiatives, focussing on government relations, legislation impacting on professional practice, health, mental health and promotion of the profession.

To view the 2010-2011 Annual Report attached below. Go to page 7 to read the Government Relations Report and to page 9 to read the Professional Advocacy Report.

(The French report is attached below too - Rapport annuel 2010-2011

Excellent Care for All Act
News Reported on April 29, 2011

As a result of effective advocacy on the part of OASW and others, the Excellent Care for All Act regulations have been amended as of January, 2011. 

The amendments make social workers eligible to serve on the quality committees responsible for monitoring and reporting on quality issues in health care organizations.

The Ministry of Health and Long-term Care indicates that the intent of the change is to promote professional practice and wider involvement with the quality committees. 

HST Exemption
News Reported on Thursday, June 28, 2007

Health-Related Social Work Services Exempt from HST
The Ontario Association of Social Workers is pleased to announce the passing of Bill C-40, the long-awaited federal legislation that confirms the exemption of HST for health-related services provided by social workers. After over a decade of lobbying, the legislation ensures that social workers are provided similar tax exemptions as other health professions. The exemption took effect for any services provided after October 3, 2003.

Individuals in Ontario who use the title "social worker" and are members of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers will now be able to claim HST exemption when they provide health-related services. The types of health-related services exempt from HST for social workers are specifically defined as:

-services that are rendered to an individual

-services that are provided within a professional-client relationship between the social worker and the individual, and
-services that are provided for the prevention, assessment or remediation of, or to assist the individual in coping with a physical, emotional, behavioural, or mental disorder or disability of the
- individual or of another person to whom the individual is related, or to whom the individual provides care or supervision otherwise than in a professional capacity.

 In summary, it is essential that the service be provided within the context of a professional social worker-client relationship. It is vital that one of the participants has a disorder or disability with which the social worker is helping the individual (or relative or caregiver) to cope or, alternatively, the purpose of the intervention is to prevent a disorder or disability from developing. The words "disorder or disability" will be the key limiting phrase for exempt services and vulnerable to interpretation, although the "health-related services" covered by the exemption are fairly broad.

Please note that services are not HST exempt when a social worker is consulted by another professional in relation to a client of the other professional, or if a social worker were hired to speak about a health-related issue for a seminar/conference. Similarly, services provided to a court, e.g., in custody and access cases, are not exempt.

According to information obtained from HST officials, the exemption will likely be determined by the following criteria:

-What is the focus of the service?
Services that are of a therapeutic nature (healing, problem-solving, improving relationships, etc., defined quite broadly) will be covered. If, however, the service is primarily educational in nature or is in the form of supervision or consultation to another professional or to an agency, it will not be covered.

-What constitutes the primary purpose of the service?
It would not appear that services will be covered if, for example, the primary purpose of the interaction is to provide a service to the courts or to an agency, to assist them in reaching a conclusion or making a recommendation related to the client(s). The fact that the service may have secondary therapeutic gains is not relevant.
If any OASW member wishes to access directly the text of the legislation, this information is available by clicking on Text of legislation or http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=E&Mode=1&DocId=3297624&File=19.

Social workers are encouraged to contact their accountants to discuss how to deal with this change in HST legislation, since at this time the legislation itself does not provide specifics regarding how the exemption will be interpreted.

Social workers providing services that meet the criteria outlined above and who collected HST after October 3, 2003, are encouraged to provide information to clients regarding the availability of the HST rebate (e.g., waiting room flyers).

If social workers have the mailing addresses of former clients, they may wish to provide them with this information as well. Clients can apply for the HST rebate from Canada Revenue Agency by downloading the rebate form at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pbg/gf/gst189/.