Committees & Advisory Groups
OASW achieves a great deal of its initiatives through the work of committees and advisory groups.
Budget, Finance and Audit Committee
The purpose of the Budget, Finance and Audit Committee is to oversee all aspects of financial planning and financial management of the Association.
Its responsibilities are to:
- Develop and apply appropriate policies and procedures for preparation of the annual budget of the Association.
- Recommend an annual budget for the Association to the Board of Directors for approval at their last meeting before the fiscal year.
- Recommend policies and procedures for financial management to the Board of Directors for approval.
- Recommend a long-range (3 to 5 years) financial plan to the Board for approval.
- Review the approved long-range financial plan annually and recommend amendments to the Board as necessary.
- Liaise with the Branch Treasurers through the Treasurer regarding financial matters.
- Review quarterly statements and monitor ongoing financial standing.
Rashaad Vahed, Treasurer-Secretary, Chair (Central Ontario Branch)
Joan MacKenzie Davies, OASW Executive Director (Central Ontario Branch
Patrick Fleming (Western Branch)
Amrit Khaper, Accountant (Central Ontario Branch)
Fay Lim-Lambie (Central Ontario Branch)
Anne Sawarna (Western Branch)
The Executive Committee is composed of the Officers of the Association.
What do they do?
Dr. Keith Adamson, President, Chair (Hamilton Branch)
Cathy Farrell, Vice-President, Branch Affairs (Northwestern Branch)
Dr. Ellen Sue Mesbur, Vice-President, Social and Professional Advocacy (Central Ontario Branch)
Rashaad Vahed, Treasurer-Secretary, Chair (Central Ontario Branch)
The purpose of the Government Relations Advisory Committee is to influence social policy formulation and decision-making, identified by OASW, related to government legislation, policy and programming that impact on social workers and the client groups the profession serves; and to affirm our profession's role with stakeholders and the public provincially.
The Committee's objectives are:
- To advise the Association on strategies and tactics necessary to influence the direction and course of social policy in Ontario.
- To facilitate the development of key messages, in concert with the Association's public relations strategy, that distinguish social workers and OASW from other groups and that specify desired practical outcomes.
- To consult with and involve the branches and major stakeholders within the profession regarding the development of key messages, the public image of our profession, desired outcomes and related positions.
- To promulgate these messages in a strategic way that maximizes the use of limited resources.
- To work with senior staff within the Association to communicate key social work priorities and positions to the public (e.g., through letters to the newspapers, media releases, press conferences, etc.).
- To monitor and review the effectiveness of the government relations strategies and tactics annually as part of the OASW Strategic Plan.
Dr. Dan Andreae, Chair (Central Ontario Branch)
Kate Power, (Hamilton Branch)
Mary Kaye Lucier (Southwestern Branch)
Bonnie Schroeder, Eastern Regional Director (Eastern Branch)
John Ellis, Expert Member/Family Service Ontario (Central Ontario Branch)
Joan MacKenzie Davies, OASW Executive Director (Central Ontario Branch)
Gillian McCloskey, OASW Associate Executive Director (Central Ontario Branch)
Established in 2001, OASW Government Relations Advisory Committee provides leadership for government relations, which is a key priority of the Association since many activities and practices from clinical functions, to crucial funding to policy decisions affecting clients and social workers, are determined by government. Over the past year, as part of OASW's Strategic Goal to ensure that social work interests with government are clearly articulated, advanced and protected, the Association has continued to work closely with Policy Concepts, an established and reputable firm with expertise in government relations.
Peter Regenstreif, a government relations consultant with Policy Concepts (until his retirement in May 2012), has assisted us in navigating the complex political landscape within which public and social policy is currently formulated, and helped us influence decision-making related to policy and regulations. As you will recall, Policy Concepts played an indispensable role in OASW's successful lobbying efforts to have the Psychotherapy Act, 2007 (Bill 171) amended to include social work as one of the five existing regulated professions qualified to perform this controlled act. Megan Archer has since replaced Peter at Policy Concepts.
OASW's Government Relations Advisory Committee has developed and implemented a broadly based government relations strategy to raise the profession's profile and advance the profession's interests. OASW's Government Relations Strategy aims to:
- Strengthen relationships with key ministries that fund services and/or oversee social work practice to ensure that Ministers and their staff understand our profession's perspective and concerns related to significant practice and policy issues.
- Build relationships with MPPs to increase their understanding and support for the valuable services that social workers provide, and offer tools to enable OASW members to do so as well.
- Work with government to remove barriers to practice that stem from unintended restrictions in existing and/or proposed legislation, regulations and programs.
- Promote equitable treatment and access to services for social work clients.
- Ensure that social workers are recognized as having equal status to members of other regulated professions.
In collaborative efforts with Policy Concepts, OASW has made significant progress in shaping and communicating our message to government as we proactively advance the interests and concerns of the profession related to professional practice and social justice concerns. To this end, a number of documents and materials have been developed:
- to articulate the profession's role related to poverty reduction;
- to outline overarching concerns about the under-utilization of social workers due to barriers created by legislation, regulations and programs that solely recognize professions regulated under theRegulated Health Professions Act(RHPA);and
- to identify short- and long-term "asks" of government. These "asks" relate to the ability to certify OCF-18 Treatment Forms under theInsurance Act; access to funding for continuing education in the Allied Health Professional Development Fund; and coverage of transportation costs for Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) recipients when they have appointments with social workers.
Lobbying as an association and jointly with existing regulated professions allowed to perform the controlled act of psychotherapy have resulted in inclusion of a regulation which will extend the title "Psychotherapist" to social workers and members of the other existing regulated professions referenced in the Psychotherapy Act, 2007.
Additional accomplishments in recent years include:
- gaining access to the use of the title "Doctor" for Registered Social Workers with an earned doctorate in social work, when providing health care services; and
- recognition of RSWs as "medical practitioners" in the Income Tax Act, allowing members of the public to claim social work services as a medical tax deduction on income tax returns.
In meetings with the Minister of Community and Social Services (MCSS) and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) and their political as well as senior policy staff, OASW has strongly advocated for the development of a mechanism to remove existing silos between the two ministries that have posed barriers to social work practice. Constructive working relations are being forged with both ministries, particularly with the Minister of Community and Social Services, Madeleine Meilleur, and her senior policy staff.
As part of OASW's Government Relations Strategy, OASW continues to participate in a number of government consultations.
Regular updates on the progress of key government relations initiatives are provided to Association members through the Provincial E-Bulletin, Social Work Now and the news section of this website.