Education, Training, & Regulation

Social workers have at least one or more university degrees in social work: 
  • Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)
  • Master's in Social Work (MSW) or a
  • Doctorate in Social Work (PhD/DSW).

Social work education, training and expertise makes them uniquely qualified to deliver a range of counselling and psychotherapy services. Social workers may also have additional training in specialized areas of practice. 

Social Work Programs

The Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers is the regulatory body for Social Workers in Ontario:
Social workers are regulated by a provincial law. The legislation is called the Social Work and Social Service Work Act, 1998, and is overseen by the Ministry of Community and Social ServicesAs a result of the legislation, in order to use the title "social worker" an individual must be registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW). If someone is registered, the initials RSW (Registered Social Worker) will appear after their name. To check that an individual is an RSW, visit the Online Register at OCSWSSW.orgAlternatively, you can contact the College via email at [email protected] or by phone at 1.877.828.9380.


Can someone call themselves a Social Worker and NOT be registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW)?

No. It is against the law for anyone to call themselves a social worker, or let people believe that they are a social worker if they are not registered with OCSWSSW. Check the OCSWSSW Online Register to confirm if an individual is a Registered Social Worker (RSW). 

What If I Have a Complaint About a Social Worker?

All Registered Social Workers are subject to the OCSWSSW Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. If you have concerns about the conduct or actions of a social worker in Ontario, contact the College directly for information regarding the complaints process or visit