Yes, many social workers choose to disclose their race, ethnicity and/or sexual orientation, because this provides them with an in-depth and unique understanding of the needs of racialized and 2SLGBTQI+ individuals and families. If you would prefer to work with a social worker from your own community, we encourage you to seek out or request a social worker who you are most comfortable with.
The websites below can assist in your search for a social worker that shares your culture, background or lived experience:
For more resources on mental health care providers and supports in Ontario, visit our Mental Health Resources page.
If you are referred to these services through your local health care provider, such as your Family Health Team, at the hospital, or within long-term care and home and community care, then social work services are generally covered by OHIP. Social work services can also be requested and accessed at no cost through publicly-funded organizations such as at your child’s school or at community-based agencies that offer these services.
You typically will not need a referral to access an RSW in these cases. While a referral is not required, you may wish to discuss the challenges you are facing with a doctor or other care professional, and request a referral in order to connect with the most appropriate supports.
To access community-based mental health services, you can contact ConnexOntario for free and confidential support.
Registered Social Workers (RSWs) who are working in private practice are self-employed, and typically charge an hourly fee for their services. These fees are not covered by OHIP, but they may be covered under your insurance or employee benefits plan. For a listing of social workers in private practice, visit www.FindASocialWorker.ca.
In Ontario, most insurance companies provide coverage options for psychotherapy or counselling services provided by Registered Social Workers (RSWs). However, each employer negotiates with their insurer to select the specific services included in their employee benefits plan.
If you are not sure whether your insurance or employee benefits plan includes coverage for counselling or psychotherapy provided by an RSW, it’s a good idea to contact your insurance / benefits provider to verify your coverage before you begin working with an RSW. If your benefit plan does not cover counselling and psychotherapy services provided by an RSW, you may wish to raise this with your employer or insurance provider and ask that RSWs be added to the list of covered mental health professionals.
With more and more Ontarians needing support, ensuring access to timely, high-quality mental health care has never been more critical. As the largest provider of mental health care in the province, Registered Social Workers are vital to ensuring mental health access for all Ontarians.
In health care, long-term care, schools, community mental health, addictions support, private practice and more, Ontario’s more than 22,000 social workers are there to intervene early, reduce barriers, and deliver the quality mental health care that individuals, families, and communities need.