Creative resilience − Connection Magazine Spring 2021 & 2020 NSCSW Annual Report

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C NNECTIONS Spring Spring2021 2021| |Volume Volume4, 4,Issue Issue11

Creative resilience



SAVE THE DATE NSCSW Conference & Annual General Meeting MAY 13-14, 2022

Our annual conferences create opportunities for members of the Nova Scotia College of Social Workers and others in our communities to connect, plan, discover, and share knowledge. We hope to see you again next year. Questions? Contact Nadia Siritsky at



Spring 2021 | Volume 4, Issue 1

Published three times a year by the Nova Scotia College of Social Workers 1888 Brunswick Street, Suite 700 Halifax, NS B3J 3J8

CREATIVE DIRECTION & DESIGN: Brittany Pickrem, Branding & Design EDITORIAL COMMITTEE: Jodi Butler (RSW) Rebecca Faria (College Staff)

Phone: 902.429.7799 Fax: 902.429.7650

Bessie Harris (Associate, Retired) Shalyse Sangster (RSW) Nadia Siritsky (SWC, College Staff)

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Alec Stratford (RSW, College Staff) ADVERTISING IN CONNECTION:

the Nova Scotia College of Social Workers,

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and also reserves copyright for all articles.

Communication Coordinator Rebecca Faria at

Reproduction without written permission

from the publisher is not allowed. See advertising rates at Next issue: Fall 2021 CONNECT WITH THE COLLEGE: @NSCSW

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TABLE OF CONTENTS Volume 4, Issue 1


Creative Resilience


February – April 2021

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Become a Candidacy Mentor


Supporting Social Workers

















Resilience and Growth

Stories that Connect

Advocacy, Solidarity & Collaboration

Expanding Provider Choice

Repositioning Social Work to Improve Mental Health

A Framework for Change

Measuring Progress

Spotlight on our Membership

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For many who have attended the ethics training that I facilitate, you will have heard my story of how I came to social work. Early experiences with children and youth in an outdoor setting coupled with my passion for social justice and change, and journey of self-discovery.

Creative resilience

Each year as I review the annual report submissions by the various committees of the College, my choice to enter the profession of social work is reinforced. The submissions unveil a snapshot of the work being done by social workers across Nova Scotia. It paints a clear picture of what hope, care and empathy look like when they are made central to human services. While 2020 was a very tough year for many, what it made clear for all was the fundamental role that professional caring plays in our society. As governments shift agendas to address the core needs of Nova Scotians, social workers have continued to be there with the policy ideas that are needed, the skills to mobilize and organize core programs, and leadership in areas of grief, mental health, justice, and families and children. I am proud to be a social worker and believe that this year’s Social Work Month theme captured the role of social work in 2020: Social Work is Essential.

Alec Stratford, MSW, RSW Registrar/Executive Director

This year’s annual report reflects that the College is an active community working in the interest of the public towards broader social change. We are a notable, visible, and progressive voice for change.

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When I came to this role five years ago, I hoped that I would be able to support the mobilization of the profession’s values and principles towards greater social change, and aimed to build the College as a progressive organization leading change. It was a choice that required substantial change to the organization. It has required building capacity and the tools to capture the spirit of the already incredible work happening in the social work community across Nova Scotia, while working to maintain the highest ethical and practice standards for the public. The path forward has involved cultivating solid relationships with members, building credibility, and engaging with the wider community to challenge existing structures, in order to bring to life the vision that members have for the College when they adopted our strategic plan in 2018. When I read through the submissions of this year’s annual report and the many contributions from the College’s six dedicated staff, its volunteers and our allies, I am inspired and motivated by these glimpses into the day-to-day work of our community, which align with my motivation for joining to enter our profession in the first place. This year’s annual report reflects that the College is an active community working in the interest of the public towards broader social change. We are a notable, visible, and progressive voice for change. Our reports and commentary continue to be picked up and utilized by political decision-makers and the media. We are generating political and public discourse towards our strategic vision, while supporting service delivery by engaging with major employers around adapting policy to promote social work professionalism. This last year, our committees have put forward programs and key documents to challenge the dominant discourse, support social workers in their practice, and protect the public.


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Though we could not gather in person, we delivered virtual learning opportunities for our members in every part of the province.

Through our advocacy efforts, we are focused on dismantling neo-liberalism, fighting for more equitable distribution of wealth, and rebuilding the social safety net. Our Social Policy Framework provides a road map out of our current neo-liberal paradigm. Our social justice committee put forward a major paper repositioning social work to improve the mental health of Nova Scotians. We have successfully entered in an authentic collaborative relationship with the Department of Community Services. Our professional development committee has continued to provide cuttingedge learning opportunities through our digital platforms. The Board of Examiners and the complaints and discipline committees have worked diligently, compassionately, and with the interest of public in their hearts, and made some very tough and thoughtful decisions regarding the professional conduct of members. I want to take the time to thank the volunteers and staff at the College who worked hard throughout the course of the pandemic to continue to lead and guide the profession, and delivered on all core programs. Thank you, thank you. There is still so much more important work in front of us as well. Last summer International Federation of Social Workers President Silvana Martinez and Rory Truell, IFSW SecretaryGeneral, wrote that “the brutal killing of George Floyd represents the need for another worldwide social rights movement that demands the realization of all people’s rights and dignity through the establishment of systems that [is] based on the principles of inclusion, equality and social development.” The College has recognized that our profession’s part in this journey has to begin with a critical reflection and examination

of social work practice. This work is currently underway, and we have committed ourselves to anti-racist work in social work regulation and practice. We are currently leading a national project with the Canadian Council of Social Work Regulators to build an anti-racist regulation framework. We are committed to ensuring that the College reflects the diverse voices of Nova Scotians by working to ensure representation on the College’s committees and staffing. We are also committed and are in the process of examining the pedagogy of social work by working with our national partners to update the Canadian Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics, with the commitment of embedding the principles of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission within them. Once this review is completed, we are committed to updating the Nova Scotia Standards of Practice which are at the root of how we regulate the profession, in order to ensure that they are reflective of Africentric and Indigenous views. Through our communications tools, we will continue to share the stories and successes of the important and distinct contributions of social workers from diverse backgrounds. We will continue to organize and offer specific social work education on anti-racism. Finally, we are committed to the fight for social justice and equality. Through our advocacy efforts, we are focused on dismantling neo-liberalism, fighting for more equitable distribution of wealth, and rebuilding the social safety net. I am inspired by the work of all our members, and know that we are up for addressing these challenges.

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New Private Practitioners, Registered Social Workers, & Social Worker Candidates PRIVATE PRACTITIONERS Kathy Bourgeois Debra Bourque June Burke-MacDonald Brittany Eisner Danielle Harris Kelly Hunt Pamela Lappin Lynn MacDonald Jessica McNutt Wells Lisa Messervey Corey Rafuse Laura Rodriguez Mary Margaret Surette Melaney White

REGISTERED SOCIAL WORKERS Stephanie Allan Melissa Bennett Linda Bent Roberta Brenner Anne Brochu Jennifer Burgess Hallie Burt

Nadine Campbell Sarah Anne Cowans Melissa Currie Meaghan Curtis Erika d’Eon Ashley Dalmazzi Samantha DiFrancescantonio Jessica Dilney Sharon Fernandez Chad Foulkes Brenda Gear Jacqueline Griffith Kelly-Lynn Isenor Katrina Jarvis Prasanna Kariyawansa Christy Kent Alice Kitz Laura Langille Kenzie Ley Janna Elizabeth MacDonald Breanne MacKenzie Kathleen Mackey Shaelyn Marsh Catherine McCormack Shannon McCready Shauna Melanson

Kendra Mountain Amber Newton Rene Peltekian Kaleigh Rand Jennifer Stevens Rachael Stockdale Christina Vandenberg Jennifer Vidito Samantha West Laura Williams Kathleen Wright

SOCIAL WORKER CANDIDATES Maris Reynolds Miller Merrilee Joyce Rowse Brittney Rose Amirault Dayna Balaban Laurie Bouchard Hillary Ann Bowdridge Emma Couillard Lauren Crampton Julie Doan Katrina Enserink Maureen Fedorus Tena Fernandez

Emily Fleet Peter Giby Jena Gilliland Emma Gogan Heather Gouthro Amy Harlow David Hood Katelyn Jessome Scott MacDonald Christie MacInnis Elza Manukian Lauren Matheson Robyn Metcalfe Johanna Murray Faith O’Reilly Jacklyn Marie Paul Maggie Ready Laara Richardson Nadia Siritsky Cicely Smith Amanda Sweeny-Rose Hannah Lynn Tousignant SaDeia Martina Williams Chakira Young

Join the conversation


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CULTIVATING MENTORSHIP Candidacy mentors are an important link in the model for professional development within the membership of the Nova Scotia College of Social Workers. We would like to thank the mentors who have guided our Social Worker Candidates through the successful completion of candidacy since February. Donna Best Bernadette Confiant Michelle Cormier Erin Dalton Darlene Fewer Heather Flynn Tonya Grant Winne Grant

Allison MacSween Sondra McBride Trevor Morse Tanya Moss Michael Nahirnak Cheryl Osmond Janet Pothier Susan Proudfoot

Kelly Reddy Jackie Redmond Jaime Reynolds Maria Shaheen Kali Spencer Shawn Wood

BECOME A MENTOR Mentorship is underscored by a climate of safety and trust, where candidates can develop their sense of professional identity. We now offer optional mentor training for members of the College, in the form of a self-directed online course. We also provide resources to help mentors support candidates’ learning throughout their candidacy. To learn more about the rewards of being a mentor, visit


DEVELOPING THE CMP The NSCSW Candidacy Mentorship Program (CMP) is required for all newly registered social workers. Candidacy is designed to decrease professional stress and provide each candidate with nurturing conditions that complement their success, encourage self-efficacy, and support the development of their professional identity. In 2019 the candidacy program was revamped and relaunched by the NSCSW Candidacy Committee. This initiative meant that while new Social Worker Candidates (SWC) would be required to complete the new CMP, some SWCs already engaged in candidacy continued on in the old program. As a result, the NSCSW has been administering both programs with an aim to completely close out the old candidacy program when all the remaining candidates have completed and been granted their RSW registration designation. There are currently 438 registered SWCs; 395 are completing CMP and there are 43 finishing in the old candidacy program.

PLANNING EVALUATION With the launch of the new CMP, the NSCSW also made a commitment to monitor and evaluate the program. The College aims to track and assess that the goals and objectives of the program are being met. A full program evaluation will take place in 2021, and will identify: 1. The problems the CMP is meant to address • The ability of social workers to uphold ethical practices. There is a complex tension between social work values, ethics and standards and the demands and structures of the workplace. • The erosion or confusion of the professional social work identity. There is a pull towards the profession’s principles and values which are embedded in social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people; however, social workers are often pulled towards a maintenance of the status quo by asserting social control.

• Stress and burnout through vicarious trauma. Social workers face high caseloads, strict deadlines, public scrutiny, lack of resources, and an inability to influence decisions or alter undesirable situations. 2. Steps being taken to address these problems The CMP is designed to counter and resist the negative effects of professional stress by supporting candidates: • Supporting the development of a professional identity • Encouraging discussion ethical issues • Exploring professional concerns related to their practice experiences • Integrating theory and practice while gaining workplace experience • Combatting the impact of burnout and compassion fatigue by supporting the development of selfawareness, and restorative practices

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3. Indicators of program success • SWCs demonstrate an understanding and application of both the NSCSW Standards of Practice 2017, and the Canadian Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics, and can integrate the content and spirit of both documents into their day-to-day social work.

• Easily accessible online resources, including having an appointed NSCSW staff member to support mentors and candidates • Training program for mentors • Program engagement creates a positive experience for candidates

• SWCs are trusted by users of professional services, key stakeholders and other professions.

3. A re there any aspects of the Candidacy Mentorship Program that should be different? If so, why?

• SWCs have congruent values within the profession.

The committee members offered insight into numerous components of the CMP that could be improved:

• SWCs hold a sense of collective identity and have a greater self-awareness. • SWCs have a clear and well differentiated scope of practice. • SWCs have articulated self-care and restorative practices to aid in decreased social work burnout.

EXPLORATORY REVIEW The first step towards conducting a full program evaluation was to first ensure that the program is being delivered as it was intended by the Candidacy Committee that designed it. Megan Johnson, a BSW student completing a placement at NSCSW, contacted past members of the committee with questions about CMP’s current delivery, and provided examples of completed candidacy records. The committee members were asked four questions. 1. I s the quality of responses from participants who have completed the recently updated Candidacy Mentorship Program in line with what the program was designed to achieve? Based on the committee member’s review of a sample of candidacy records, they reported that it is evident that the changes to the candidacy program are in line with what the program is intended to do. For instance, the review revealed that candidates reported: • The ability to easily access resources and support from the College

• NSCSW staff could schedule check-ins with candidates and their mentors, in order to provide them with additional support through the duration of the candidacy. • New mentors could be connected with experienced mentors who could offer them tips, and have a chance to voice the questions or concerns they may have in order to build their confidence mentoring. • The NSCSW could support candidates who identify as a racial or ethnic minority to be partnered with a mentor who also identities as being from the same community. By doing so, the committee member expressed that the candidate could connect better and share similar experiences with their mentor. • The NSCSW could encourage candidates to pair with mentors that are employed in a different social work field. By doing so, the candidate could be offered a greater scope and insight into the diversity of field of social work. 4. What are the weaknesses of the recently updated Candidacy Mentorship Program? Most comments and insights regarding the updates to the CMP were positive, but committee members did address some weaknesses of the program. One of these individuals felt that the College could be more involved in the partnering of a candidate and their mentor, rather than candidates finding mentors through informal channels.

2. W hat are the strengths of the recently updated Candidacy Mentorship Program?

Another weakness that was brought up was how the use of an online platform could weaken the quality of conversations between candidates and their mentors. This member was referring to the use of Zoom and other online meeting platforms to host candidacy meetings. Due to the global pandemic, many candidates and mentors have been meeting virtually. Being separated by a screen could have the potential to disrupt the flow of conversation, and may negatively impact the quality of mentorship meetings.

Almost all respondents remarked on how easily accessible and convenient the CMP is through its online platform. Generally, the committee members found that the strengths of the CMP are:

Based on the review with past members of the Candidacy Committee, the NSCSW has concluded that the Candidacy Mentorship Program is operating as it was intended. NSCSW will conduct a fulsome program evaluation in the coming year.

• Increased usage of the Standards of Practice and NSCSW Code of Ethics • Enhancement and emphasis of self-care practices

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COVID-19 affected all aspects of living in 2020. Families lost loved ones. Distance and masks became mandatory. Social programs and health care services bore a heavy burden. Bubbles and border restrictions became the norm. Striving to carve out moments of normalcy seemed impossible. And yet our province, our country, our world pulled together to make a difference. The impossible became possible. We learned the importance of working together to stay safe. We learned to stretch our learning, overcome our technological disadvantages.

offer support to each other. We discussed how we could reinvent our yearly conference to remain safe and abide by necessary restrictions, and offer our membership a topic that required examination and thought. This laid the foundation for our first virtual conference, Challenging Our Social Justice Lens, set to take place on May 14 & 15, 2021. The committee remains a vital part of the College. It is my honour to continue to serve as chair to such a wonderful, thoughtful and dedicated group. The assistance provided by our staff liaison, Annemieke Vink, was invaluable. All of our

We found new ground. New ways to communicate.

committee members remain ever so dedicated to offering

To discuss. To build. To explore our questions.

social work.

In the midst of all this change, the 2020 conference, Mental Health, Today & Tomorrow, was cancelled but not lost. It felt like a victory when we learned several of the presenters agreed to reconfigure their presentations into webinars, giving our membership access without exposure.

the membership content that strengthens the practice of

COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Craig Besaw, Brandy Gryshik, Crystal Hill, Helen Luedee, April Munro-Wood (chair), Claire Sampson-MacDonald, Joanne Sulman, Annemieke Vink (staff) This committee is actively looking for new members. Should

At the same time, a group of strong, resilient committee members continued to meet every two weeks, via Zoom, to

you feel this is an area of interest, please contact Nadia Siritsky via email, at

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STORIES THAT CONNECT BY HAROLD BEALS, OUTGOING CO-CHAIR OF THE EDITORIAL COMMITTEE AND ALEC STRATFORD THESE ARE YOUR STORIES Connection is the foundational tool that the NSCSW uses to promote our amazing profession. It is produced three times during each calendar year, in the fall, winter and spring.

We have maintained this commitment for the past 55 years. Connection has evolved over time, from a newsletter to a fullfledged magazine, but the editorial policy has remained relatively unchanged. It represents our collective effort and takes its rightful place as a vehicle to inform, experiment and innovate.

The goal of this magazine is clear; it aims to share social work stories that connect. We know that social workers are leaders who provide essential services to support Nova Scotians lead healthier, happier lives. We’re sharing their stories, struggles and celebrating their successes. Connection illustrates the realities and challenges that social workers face, promotes the profession’s passionate work, and brings stories from our community to life. We are very pleased to report the readership of Connection has grown. Mobile-friendly story formatting and social media outreach has resulted in significant readership increases over the last two years. Our messages are going beyond the College membership and reaching the public. We hope that members see the benefit of sharing our stories with the public. The full-colour digital magazine is distributed to social workers, government, community and advocacy groups and more; along with the digital issue we print a number of copies to send to all MLAs and MPs in Nova Scotia to share your incredible work.

REPRESENTING OUR COLLECTIVE EFFORT Being a member of the Editorial Committee has been a privilege and an honour. It means being able to provide an opportunity for your colleagues and others to use their voice to inform each other and the general public about developments in the profession. Connection’s first editor, Robert Doyle, outlined the editorial policy at the 1966 AGM by eloquently stating: “It could be used to experiment, to test out our ideas, to innovate. It could provide useful information to the Association members. Above all, it should represent our collective effort.” At that time, as today, the profession needed a voice to express our collective effort, to inform each other of the advances being made in our profession, and to inform the public about the injustices being faced by many people in our society.

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Connection started as a newsletter in 1966. Harold Beals guided its transformation into Connection Magazine in 2017

It is a privilege to be a member of the Editorial Committee, and to assist with the creation of each publication and put it together in an attractive format. It is rewarding to make known new ideas and developments being advanced by our academic colleagues, our clinical colleagues, and our practitioners who engage closely with people who live in poverty and are facing intolerable injustices. We admit that trying to enlighten our society to overt and hidden injustices and suggesting new ways to correct wrongs is not easy, but being on the Editorial Committee is one way we can support that essential work.

2020 COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Harold Beals (co-chair), Jodi Butler, Rebecca Faria (staff), Bessie Harris, Shalyse Sangster (co-chair), Alec Stratford (staff), Linda Turner, Annemieke Vink (staff)


The pandemic struck hard, and fast, but the Child Welfare Advisory Committee was able to continue doing important work to advocate for the children, parents and social workers involved in the child protection system in our province. We continued to meet every month via Zoom, taking only August off. A major focus of our work concerned helping to develop the process and membership of the collaborative forum, advocated by the NSCSW to create an avenue for all relevant parties to discuss the challenges being faced in Nova Scotia’s child welfare system.

The year saw the pandemic creating increased difficulties for managing the needs of families in that system.

The death of George Floyd inspired numerous large demonstrations highlighting ongoing grave injustices experienced by Black communities. In addition, the calls for the rights of the Mi’kmaq to a moderate livelihood were brought to dramatic public attention, exposing the federal government’s inaction to clarify significant questions arising from the Marshall decision. These both forced us to always consider the disproportionate challenges faced by

Indigenous and Black families in child welfare. As a result, one of the committee’s initiatives was educational work to learn more about Mi’kmaw child welfare issues. Members of the committee also examined the issues around how the removal of the child tax credit from families of children in care creates severe additional hardship for families working to reunite. The committee focused outreach work on building capacity, and was able to broaden its membership to include legal aid and community advocates as well as representation from the IWK. Over 20 members of our committee are exchanging invaluable information in our monthly meetings, networking and advocating from numerous perspectives, in addition to the already existing leadership of the College and involvement of Black and Mi’kmaw organizations, private practitioners and union representatives. We discussed the Children and Family Services Act review in depth and assisted in the preparation of a document prepared by the College outlining significant concerns, which was shared publicly on the NSCSW website. We look forward to increasing our efforts in the next year, and invite interested individuals and organizations to consider joining us.

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EXPANDING PROVIDER CHOICE Final report from the Private Practice Committee

In 2020 the Private Practice Committee launched its campaign to ensure private health insurance plans are covering social workers. After much research and consultation, the committee discovered that most insurance companies are willing to cover social workers as part of their packages, and the most effective way to make sure they do is for members of those plans to contact their union, human resources department, board, or manager to ask if this can be changed. Based on this, the committee built a campaign that aimed to empower benefit plan members to advocate for this change. The content of the campaign continues to focus on the narrative that coverage for social work services and counselling makes good business sense as it ensures a healthier workforce. Including social work services in benefit plans increases an organization’s capacity to meet the needs of employees and their families; the effort or cost required is usually very low, and the potential rewards are high. Along with a downloadable form letter, social media messages and digital posters the campaign provides a case for expanding access to social work and states that the impact of mental health on Canadian society is staggering, affecting an estimated one in five Canadians and costing the economy at least $50 billion a year. The amount of time spent in hospital in 2018 for mental health disorders was the equivalent of taking 340 people out of Nova Scotia society, for a full year. Timely access to needed mental health services is a critical issue facing Nova Scotians. Numerous barriers to service access include: stigma; poverty; lack of integration between mental health and health services; shortage of mental health professionals;

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and regional disparities. This affects people’s ability to get support. Although one in five Nova Scotians will experience a mental health issue, only about 30 per cent seek help. Some people may not know how their mental health is affecting them, and may not know that help is available. Some may not be able to access mental health support because of barriers like cost, language and transportation. Others don’t seek help because of the stigma attached to mental health. They feel embarrassed or ashamed. They worry that they will be judged and misunderstood. They worry about being discriminated against.

It is important to know that no one is alone, and there are services that can help. And the earlier someone gets help, the less chance there is that the problem will come back or get worse. More must be done to ensure universal, timely access to mental health services. However, expanding coverage through private insurance plans also contributes to this goal. Service providers, employees, unions, and employers can all work together to ensure that access to mental health services is improved in the short-term, while we continue to advocate for universal coverage. Including social work in benefit plans increases the number of eligible mental health providers that plan members can access. There are more than 300 Registered Social Workers in private practice in Nova Scotia, and about half of them base their practice outside Halifax. Many of these private

practitioners offer skilled professional counselling for personal, family, and work-related issues. These services are GST/HST exempt, and can be claimed as a medical expense. Expanding provider choice can be especially vital in rural areas where other mental health professionals might not be unavailable, or when seeking a service provider with a specific specialization (e.g. culturallysensitive, 2SLGBTQ-informed, language fluency). Getting the right care to people where they are and when they need it contributes to the collective wellbeing of entire communities. As part of this campaign, the NSCSW has been sending core letters of engagement to our labour partners and encouraging them to make this change. At a national level, the Public Service Commission of Canada (the organization that administers benefits for federal employees) has finally added social work to their list of mental health practitioners. Join in the campaign by visiting: The benefit plan campaign is the final project of this committee, at least for now. We look forward to seeing how the work of NSCSW’s new Clinical Committee shapes the future of our College, and our profession.

2020 COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Nelda Armour, Tonya Grant, Jeff Karabanow, Jen Morris (chair), April Munro-Wood, Pam Roberts, Jennifer van Kessell, Annemieke Vink, Alec Stratford (staff), Beth Toomey.

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COVID 19 shaped our experience during the past year. On the other hand, the pandemic has highlighted, underlined and amplified concerns about mental health. Governments and political parties at both federal and provincial levels have made commitments to increase investment and to give enhanced priority to the availability and delivery of mental health and addiction services.

I emphasize mental health because achieving optimum mental health in Nova Scotia has continued to focus the attention of our committee.

Certainly the highlight of our year was the launch of Repositioning Social Work Practice in Mental Health in Nova Scotia ( This report and the research it describes, commissioned by

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NSCSW, is the work of Dalhousie University School of Social Work professors Catrina Brown, Marjorie Johnstone and Nancy Ross. It makes 29 recommendations. These include increasing financial investment in mental health and addictions services, the importance of authentic community consultation, and rethinking the integration of mental health and addictions. The research in Repositioning also underlines the need for strengthening social work within the service delivery system, although, as the authors point out, “it is not social work that is limited, it is the neo-liberal, biomedical delivery approach itself.” Almost half of the report’s recommendations stress the importance of shifting to a bio-psycho-social model for delivering mental health and addictions services. A bio-psycho-social model recognizes individual humans as social beings, part of the systems in which we live. Social workers, the report argues, need to be better supported to help make this adjustment to a broader, more responsive service system.

In the months ahead this committee will continue to push toward optimum mental health for Nova Scotians. As we pursue that work we need input and feedback from members. And we also need your voices to find expression in letters to the editor, in messages to elected officials, and in the lunchrooms and cafeterias of your work places.

As part of this attention to mental health, Social Justice Committee members were pleased, early last summer, to be a part of a briefing on Nova Scotia Health’s Mental Health and Addiction program, but surprised at how little NSH leaders understood the depth of social work concerns about the services system. Attention to the issues, the research, to Repositioning Social Work Practice in Mental Health in Nova Scotia, and leadership from Annemieke Vink, also led to the creation of a document, “The Social Justice Committee strategic plan: A social movement to achieve optimum mental health in Nova Scotia.” The College has been supportive of the plan and we are hopeful it will provide a foundation for our advocacy work during the next several years. In an early response to the pandemic, we cancelled a panel discussion on mental health that was scheduled for March 2020 at the Halifax Central Library. We were able to revive our plans and redesign them for a virtual setting. Big Ideas: A Conversation on Mental Health was delivered on Zoom in February 2021 with panellists Anna Quan, Sean Ponnambalam and Nancy Ross. Almost 300 people participated in a 90-minute reflection on first voice experience, the social determinants of health and the importance of considering adverse childhood experience as part of client and family centred care. We have intentions to make this Big Ideas conversation one of several, using a similar format, with other panellists and a range of diverse content, all related to the importance of shifting mental health and addictions toward a bio-psycho-social model of service delivery.

In the months ahead this committee will continue to push toward optimum mental health for Nova Scotians. As we pursue that work we need input and feedback from members. And we also need your voices to find expression in letters to the editor, in messages to elected officials and in the lunchrooms and cafeterias of your work places. You have told us that social work needs to be repositioned within mental health in Nova Scotia. Let’s work together to clearly decide how that repositioning should look. It matters to our profession. And even more important, it matters to the people we serve. Finally, the preparation of this report coincides with Annemieke Vink’s retirement. Annemieke has provided many years of leadership and support to the Social Justice Committee and to our profession. As Annemieke begins this new phase of her life, we hope she will carry with her our gratitude and our very best wishes for wonderful adventures in this next phase of life.

2020 COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Harold Beals, Prasanna Kariyawansa , Janelle MacDonnell, Haley MacIntosh, Dermot Monaghan, Jim Morton (chair), Juanita Paris, Cassie Shaw-Bishop, Patricia StephensBrown, Maggie Stewart, Michelle Towell, Valerie White, and Annemieke Vink (staff).

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A FRAMEWORK FOR CHANGE A report from the Social Policy Committee

On March 11 2020, the day the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic and 11 days before a state of emergency was declared in Nova Scotia, the Social Policy Committee of the NSCSW released a Social Policy Framework for Nova Scotia, in partnership with the Nova Scotia branch of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA-NS). This Social Policy Framework was introduced at a critical time in Nova Scotia. We have continued to see our governments, at all levels, implement policies and programs that have resulted in greater inequity. Our political systems have failed to develop an economy and public services that are inclusive of all Nova Scotians. Governments have continued to mark their success on the growth and expansion of the economy with hopes that a growing economy will benefit for all.

This approach has led our political leaders to ignore the indicators that the overall well-being of our population continues to deteriorate, which leads them to put their heads in the sand when it comes to creating public policy that would positively impact our health, climate and economy.

Our Social Policy Framework aims to create a fundamental paradigm shift in our political goals. As Nova Scotians, we need to ensure that the goal of increasing well-being is equal to the goal of a developing a strong economy. The social policy framework is designed to nourish the roots of this change. It creates a vision and a road map for Nova Scotians that: • Addresses inequality through public policy aimed at redistributing wealth and building an economy that works for everyone, creating a society where political decisions are made in the interest of all, not for an elite few.

20 Connection | Spring 2021

• Addresses the need to work for the public good through public policy that focuses on climate justice, investments in health and social services, the decolonization of public service and that values professional care. • Addresses the need to build public policy through collaborative decision-making embedded in an intersectional lens. Through this process, we can support participatory communities in which all voices are heard. • Addresses systemic oppression through public policy that leads to transformative change. Policy that supports all of us to acknowledge oppressive attitudes and assumptions by allowing us to share our stories and heal the hurts imposed by our conditioning, to act in the present in a humane and caring manner, to rebuild our human connection. The College has continued to utilize the framework to help mobilize public discourse, and has provided trainings on how to use it through the Dalhousie School of Social Work, as well as the IWK. The first application of the policy framework occurred in May of 2020 when the College again partnered with CCPA-NS to write “Are you with us? COVID-19 confirms the need to transform Nova Scotia’s social safety net.” This report focused on how the pandemic has proven just how fragile our current social systems are, and why we must fundamentally shift our political and economic system to become a sustainable, fair, and just province. The report called all Nova Scotians to consider how to shift course to make the province a better place to live, work, and care for each other. Using the social policy framework, CCPA-NS and the NSCSW outlined what should guide us to develop those practical policy solutions that will put us on the right course. The second application of the report was in November of 2020 when the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia introduced their new vision for mental health services. Using the framework, the College developed an analysis of the PC mental health plan to help inform public discourse. Our analysis demonstrated that while the plan

certainly has some questionable policy choices that stem from dogmatic free-market thinking, the vision it presents is transformative, and the PCs deserve credit for putting forward a bold plan. As we head into the provincial election this year the NSCSW hopes to conduct a similar analysis on party platforms on key issues such as poverty, mental health, and child protection. Finally, in December 2020 the NSCSW utilized the social policy framework to write a submission for the Children and Family Services Act (CFSA) Review Committee. A review of the CFSA was completed, as mandated by the Act. However, the Department of Community Services (DCS) chose to conduct the review in a manner that both limited the scope and engagement process, and has excluded core stakeholders such as frontline staff, families involved in the system, and children and youth in care. The CFSA Review Committee chose three of the least problematic areas of the Act to review. The challenges that have emerged in the provision of services to vulnerable children and families through the amended Act have remained far too problematic for such a narrow review. The lack of public engagement also seemed counter to the current political climate, which demands more government transparency and accountability. As

well as the many calls from racialized and marginalized communities to fundamentally shift the focus of the child protection services away from intrusive and controlling forensic and investigative activities that drain resources away from services that might better support families, towards structural changes that will contribute to the well-being of communities and families. Given the narrow scope, the NSCSW chose to provide a more comprehensive review of the Act (although still limited, due to a lack of available data), evaluated the Act using the Social Policy Framework, and concluded that the CFSA has contributed to greater inequity. We will be offering more workshops of the social policy framework, and encourage members to download our workbook and start to apply the framework to their areas of practice. Visit to get started.

2020 COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Patricia Auchnie, Cheryl Hebert, Laurette McGaughey, Alicia Nolan, Janet Pothier, Alec Stratford (staff), Jennifer Van Kessel.

Spring 2021 | Connection 21

22 Connection | Spring 2021

MEASURING PROGRESS An update on the NSCSW Strategic Plan Throughout March of 2021 the NSCSW asked its members for feedback on how we were performing regarding the goals laid out in our strategic plan. We gathered feedback through a survey, as well as Zoom consultations in each of the regions in Nova Scotia. This is a snapshot of what we heard.

HIGHLIGHTS Respondents explained they felt the NSCSW had strengthened its regulatory policy and that recent high profile discipline decisions demonstrate how this is working. It was expressed that folks felt that there was good advocacy being done with the Executive Director/Registrar being a continued presence in the media and public discourse. Respondents indicated that more work needs to be done to promote the profession in a positive light. Overall, 68 per cent of respondents felt that we were making significant progress on our strategic agenda. The regulatory efforts respondents were most satisfied with were our new database, improved registration and renewal processes, and application and renewal policy updates. For our advocacy work, respondents were also largely satisfied with the creation of our Social Policy Framework, and our ongoing child welfare advocacy. Most respondents were also pleased with Connection magazine’s role in promotion of the profession, and professional development opportunities the College offers as support for the profession.

OPPORTUNITY FOR IMPROVEMENT The lowest satisfaction scores were for our progress regarding clinical regulation; 42.9 per cent of respondents were neutral, and 14.4 per cent indicated some degree of dissatisfaction. The Clinical Committee is now active, so we are hopeful that member confidence will grow as the work of this committee develops.

Members were asked to rank NSCSW strategic priorities, from strongest to weakest performance: Regulation of the profession

Leader in advocacy and social justice working to protect Nova Scotians

Support for professional practice

Transparency and Accountability

Promotion of the profession

First Choice

Last Choice

SUMMARY Respondents were for the most part satisfied with the direction that the NSCSW is taking, and supported a strong advocacy voice and media attention, as well as work done to strengthen regulation. Respondents also reflected that the NSCSW needs to be more present in social workers’ lives, recognizing that we are “all in this together,” and that we need to foster a more positive image of the profession. Respondents also stated that they would like to see more affordable and accessible professional development opportunities in their communities that focus on skills and direct practice.

Spring 2021 | Connection 23


8% 6% 16





Social workers by region

2% 2%

51% Halifax 51.4%

Colechester 6%

South Shore 3.7%

Cape Breton 16%

North Shore 5.3%

Cumberland 2.4%

Annapolis 8.4%

Fundy Shore 4.4%

Out of Province 2.4%

24 Connection | Spring 2021

Social workers by designation

New applications by country

300 Private Practitioners

1,286 Registered Social Workers


Social Worker Candidates (active)

New applications by province

117 Students

118 Associate


Associate (Retired)

2,286 Total

Age of social workers

19% Boomers

34% Gen X

47% Millennial

Spring 2021 | Connection 25

Member Specialties Here’s a snapshot of practice specialties of Nova Scotia social workers Senator of Canada 1 member

Outside of Province 9 members

Indigenous Organization 13 members

Long-Term Care 19 members

Justice 23 members

Other Provincial Government 29 members

Post-secondary 35 members

IWK: Other 37 members

Canada Armed Forces, Supports & Veterans Affairs – 41 members

Nova Scotia Health Continuing Care – 41 members

DCS: Other 47 members

IWK: Community Mental Health & Addictions – 51 members

DCS: Disability Support Program – 55 members

Child Welfare - Mi’kmaw Family Services - 88 members

Private Practice & Community Mental Health – 114 members

Other – 114 members

Nova Scotia Health: Other 202 members

Nova Scotia Health: Mental Health & Addictions – 311 members

DCS: Child Welfare 395 members

School Social Worker 68 members

Community Not for Profit 165 members

26 Connection | Spring 2021

2020 NSCSW


2020 | NSCSW Annual Report 27

Contents 29

Your Council


Strengthening the College


Protecting the public, at a distance


Living up to our professional values & standards

28 NSCSW Annual Report | 2020


Getting by; getting better


Where your membership fees go


Our budget


Auditor’s report

Your Council Executive Officers: President: Lynn Brogan

Regional Representatives:

Vice-President: Todd Leader

Northern: Crystal Hill, vacant

Treasurer: Kate Matheson

Eastern: Catherine Kehoe, Karla Bond

Secretary: Laurie Ehler

Central: Donna LeMoine, vacant

Past President : Ezra Wexler

Western: Laura Rodriguez, vacant

To connect with the President of Council Email:

Board of Examiners: Chair: Joline Comeau

Other Representatives: CASW Board Member: Debbie Reimer Dalhousie University School of Social Work Faculty: Judy MacDonald Dalhousie University School of Social Work Student: Isaac Leblanc Universite Sainte Anne Faculty: Veronique Brideau-Cormier Universite Sainte Anne Student: vacant Nova Scotia Association of Black Social Workers: Courtney Brown Indigenous Member: vacant

2020 | NSCSW Annual Report 29

Strengthening the College, its impact and reach A message from the NSCSW President It is difficult to understate that the events of 2020 were not only challenging but life changing for everyone, especially so for those who have lost loved ones. As social workers, I believe inherent to our being is a passion for helping others, a wanting to make a difference, and a sense of hope and optimism for the future; 2021 is no exception. As we look ahead, I do wish you all blessings that this year will bring you safety, happiness, and fulfillment.

While 2020 threw us some curve balls, the College has remained steadfast in our mandate as a regulatory body to serve and protect the public, and as an association focused on engaging, and supporting our members. We have dedicated our work effort to attending to the goals and outcomes identified in our 5-year strategic plan, which was developed following a province wide consultation with members, and passed a membership vote in 2018 for implementation. The NSCSW Strategic Plan is intended to bring focus to the primary activities of the College. It represents our foundation for growth to strengthen the profession of social work in Nova Scotia, achieve legitimacy and credibility as a professional body, and to place the College on a path to become an authentic voice for social workers, and a recognized leader in advocacy and social justice issues in effort to protect Nova Scotians and enhance their overall health and well-being.

Armed with a clear legislative mandate, and a strategic plan that guides all the activities conducted by the College, much success has already been achieved as the College nears the end of its third year enacting this plan. Below, for your ease of reference, I have highlighted just some of the College’s key accomplishments this year:

streamlining our digital reporting system and making substantive improvements to our registration and renewal processes, social workers will experience an application and renewal process that is readily accessible, much easier to navigate, and less stressful!



• Candidacy Mentorship Program – A substantial amount of effort was made to revise the Candidacy Program as a tool to strengthen regulation and importantly prepare and support social workers to effectively integrate Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics into their day to day practice.

The Social work profession has historical roots in advocacy. It is an implicit function of the social work profession, and is a fundamental expectation of social practice which is explicitly stated in both our professional Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics.

• Critical regulatory documents – The NSCSW has made significant advances in developing and updating crucial documents such as the Social Worker Regulations, Administrative By-laws, Application and Renewal Policy, and Complaints Manual. This investment lends to increased transparency and understanding of how social workers are to practice, and their professional expectations, which enhances the regulatory capacity of the organization and the social work profession.

Advocacy holds a prominent role in the NSCSW strategic plan. Significant and strategic investments have resulted in the College making strides toward becoming a recognized leader in advocacy. By engaging and collaborating with members and community partners we have led projects, and produced foundational documents aimed at having a positive impact in the lives of Nova Scotians. Some of our successes include:

• Database – The College has continued to make significant investments in computer services in order to enhance and expand our database performance. It is our hope in

• Child welfare – The College successfully engaged the Department of Community Services in establishing a collaborative forum to authentically work together on desired outcomes for children, youth and their families, enhance the social work profile in child protection, and improve the working conditions for social workers who choose this challenging field of practice. • Mental health advocacy – The Social Justice Committee partnered with researchers at Dalhousie University to produce a mental health paper aimed at challenging the current medical model within our health system, and advocates for a human-based model that has at its core the delivery of relationship based, family and child centered approaches.

• Social Policy Framework – The Social Policy Committee worked with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives to create a social policy framework which provides a road map on what is required to achieve a transformative social policy and fiscal agenda in Nova Scotia. • Anti-poverty coalition – The College has been instrumental in building and unifying community organizations passionate about changing the narrative on poverty, and advocating for structural change to enhance community well-being.

2020 | NSCSW Annual Report 31

I am proud to be a social worker, and so honoured to be your President.

BUILDING SOCIAL WORK CAPACITY, ENGAGEMENT & COMMUNICATION • Member communications – Significant gains have been made to promote the profession and engage and communicate with our members including redeveloping our website, developing ongoing robust social media content, producing a bi-weekly newsletter, as well as working with the Editorial Committee to produce three issues of our professional social work magazine called Connection. • Professional development program – In effort to situate the organization as a resource for social work learning and development, the College continued to provide meaningful professional development opportunities including creating a partnership with the CASW to expand our webinar offerings.

LEADERSHIP & ACCOUNTABILITY • Governance – The College has updated this policy document which establishes clear roles and responsibilities in the organization, and clear accountability measures.

the NSCSW, the evidence is clear; the College of today is transforming in nature, complexity and reach in an effort to address its dual function as both a regulatory and association body. We are committed to making the necessary changes and improvements to meet our legislative mandate and to serve and support our members, and thus have substantively ramped up all our activities in our desire for change and success.

Alec Stratford, our Executive Director/Registrar, and the hundreds of volunteers committed to the profession who have stepped up to support the College. Thank you all!

I do believe the key accomplishments showcased above better position the College toward achieving one its greatest accomplishments: credibility. An organization where members are proud to belong, other organizations are amenable to participate and be affiliated with, is considered trustworthy , and the public perceives its value.

I am proud to be a social worker, and so honoured to be your President.

We have much work to do as we continuously strive to strengthen the College as a regulatory body, promote the profession of social work, and importantly support and serve you our members.

With kind regards, Lynn Brogan, MSW, RSW NSCSW Council President

It is so important to acknowledge the successes realized would not be possible without the dedication of a six-member staff team, the forward-thinking leadership demonstrated by

• Finances – Enhanced our financial reporting and oversight. • Annual report – Investments have been made to create a comprehensive detailed annual report featured in the spring Connection issue • Current state analysis – Completed a critical state analysis of the College which led to a staff re-organization. While the above does not represent an exhaustive list of the changes made and experienced by


32 NSCSW Annual Report | 2020

Protecting the public, at a distance BY JOLINE COMEAU, BOARD OF EXAMINERS CHAIR

2020 was a year of uncertainty and uneasiness like none other. It has been an especially challenging year for the most vulnerable individuals in this province. Social workers have had to manage a changing landscape for themselves, their family, and their work environment while seeing citizens’ mental wellness, access to services, and access to supports being impacted by the pandemic. Many social workers have also tried to help community members make sense of a tragic event while also trying to come to terms with it themselves. Even when it was most difficult, social workers have kept their passion and advocacy in helping citizens of Nova Scotia and have committed to continue to build on our high ethical standards. The Board of Examiners has continued to meet remotely to approve and regulate social workers in Nova Scotia.

We have seen a greater number of applicants for private practice over the past year as social workers see a need in their communities. The board has continued to review the private practice application process and developed a new policy regarding trauma specialization for Private Practitioners, which will inform the approval process for those interested in working with trauma-informed and traumaspecific therapy approaches. The sudden shift to a virtual world has also allowed the NSCSW to advocate for policy development regarding labour mobility and electronic practice with other jurisdictions; this work has been ongoing. I would like to thank the members of the Board of Examiners and the NSCSW staff who have shown flexibility and adaptability throughout this unpredictable year. Although the circumstances were difficult, we were able to continue to welcome new social workers to the profession and maintain high professional standards for our membership.

BOARD OF EXAMINERS MEMBERS: Joline Comeau (chair), Dennis Adams, Afolake Awoyiga, Jaqi Allan, Lynn Cheek, Jeff Karabanow, Jack Landreville, Angela Penny, Shireen Singer

GOVERNMENT APPOINTEES: Bobbi Boudreau, Lianne Chang, Lisandra Naranjo

2020 | NSCSW Annual Report 33

Living up to our professional values & standards BY JOLINE COMEAU, MSW, RSW, COMPLAINTS COMMITTEE CHAIR

Recent media coverage of NSCSW discipline matters that were deliberated in 2020 has served as a reminder for the Complaints Committee to maintain an objective approach in our deliberations. These matters have shone a light on the importance of social workers’ Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice; this was a reminder for social workers around the province that we are working with vulnerable individuals in a position of power, and this influence should never be undervalued or taken for granted. The mandate of the College is to serve and protect public interest, preserve the integrity of the social work profession, and to maintain public confidence in the ability of the social work profession to regulate itself. The College achieves this mandate by regulating the practice of social work, in part, through its legislated power to address complaints involving allegations of professional misconduct, conduct unbecoming the profession, incompetency, and/or a breach of the Code of Ethics.

34 NSCSW Annual Report | 2020

The process of receiving, investigating, and resolving complaints is the ongoing work of the Complaints Committee, which is a subcommittee of the Board of Examiners. The committee is obligated to investigate every complaint made, which vary in complexity. Some are simple to resolve, while others have more complex issues such as fitness-topractice issues, confidentiality breaches, and professional boundaries violations. The powers and duties associated with processing complaints is not assumed lightly and the resources required to carry out these responsibilities effectively are considerable.

2020 COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Dennis Adams, Joline Comeau (chair), Jack Landreville, Lisandra Naranjo (public appointed member), Ogochukwu Okechukwu (staff), Valerie Shapiro (staff)

A look at 2020 Complaints Domain

22 11 4 1 3

Child welfare Healthcare (IWK and NSH) Private Practitioner Clients Corrections

Third Party


12 10 1 1 2 1

The number of complaints received and processed by the Complaints Committee remains high. In 2020, 25 new complaints were made, 16 were carried over from 2019, totaling 41 matters. Of the 41 open complaint matters, 27 were closed, and 14 were carried over into 2021. The Complaints Committee rendered 26 final decisions. The Discipline Committee rendered 1 final decision, which resulted in revocation.

Dismissals Letters of Counsel Referral to the Discipline Committee Informal resolution Reprimand by consent Revocation


32 5 2 2



Registrar Social Worker Colleagues

Getting by; getting better Report from the NSCSW Treasurer Last year, Lynn Brogan, former NSCSW Council Treasurer and current President, referred to the COVID-19 Pandemic as “our generation’s crisis.” One year on and we find social workers remain entrenched in their work, supporting and advocating for Nova Scotians through isolation and great uncertainty, as this crisis persists. When we reflect on how Nova Scotia has fared during the pandemic, we may consider ourselves fortunate in terms of our relatively low COVID-19 case numbers, and our relatively low loss of life, but all lives lost are grieved. For our province, this past year has been marked by profound grief in the midst of this crisis and the surrounding fear. Social workers in Nova Scotia have continued to connect with their clients and neighbours, standing together in our collective grief and offering a place to share and hold space. Whether virtually, or together (but distant), our social workers are still here. Social workers watched with interest as the Canadian federal government rolled out the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit in record time. Over 214,000 Nova Scotians applied for the CERB, demonstrating the significant impact the pandemic has had on our province. As social workers, we bear

36 NSCSW Annual Report | 2020

witness to the disparities in income; we know that Nova Scotians are always doing more with less (and less, and less, and so on). CERB showed us what can be done; income assistance can be distributed to those in need quickly and effectively. It can more accurately and compassionately reflect the actual need in our communities. CERB has functioned almost as a pilot for a universal basic income and showed how a decent income subsidy can make a significant difference. Now we have returned to pre-pandemic, provincial assistance rates; families are thrust back into uncertainty and doing their best with less (and less, and less again). We know that this burden is greater for Black and Indigenous people, and Nova Scotians of colour. This knowledge is now being validated by a push across the country to collect race-based data demonstrating the significant gaps in income and other determinants of health. Staff at NSCSW continue to demonstrate respect for the revenue generated by membership fees. Spending continues to be thoughtful and considerate of members, keeping the protection of the public as our priority. The College recognizes that fee increases are challenging for many social workers, and that many are working in precarious situations with multiple, part

Social workers in Nova Scotia have continued to connect with their clients and neighbours, standing together in our collective grief and offering a place to share and hold space.

time jobs cobbled together. Over the past few years, the College has experienced a significant increase in disciplinary matters, and these matters have proven to be expensive and consuming for staff and our volunteer Board of Examiners. The College has initiated and re-evaluated a stipend for those volunteers, given the substantial amount of time they give to this work. To prevent substantial increases in membership fees, College staff continue to seek out additional opportunities for revenue and savings that fit with our membership’s values. Rising costs have been somewhat mitigated by increasing membership. This unprecedented past year also brought savings in areas of staff travel and committee expenses as we stayed home and “zoomed” in. This increased revenue and savings have resulted in a balanced budget and projected surplus of over $117,000. Much of this surplus will be directed towards restructuring the College staff complement, a decision supported and approved by Council that will provide College staff with the time and resources to appropriately address the evolving dynamic of social work regulation and practice. With increased engagement, we will be augmenting the professional practice position, and with increased visibility and significantly

more complaints, we are investing in our regulatory administrators. Solid decision making has helped us to avoid a negative impact on our operational and discipline reserve funds. Both funds contain the balance required by our governance policies at a respective $515,303 and $147,550. The College’s assets remain stable at $1,615,600. NSCSW funds are used responsibly with the appropriate oversight and advice of your council. Financial stability is essential in order to fulfill our mandate to protect the public. Staff restructuring and continued advocacy are significant investments in our future. Increased visibility of inequities and injustice in our communities means increased pressure on the College to advocate. These investments provide the College with the resources needed to continue in our work. Stay safe and in solidarity, Kate Matheson, MSW, RSW NSCSW Treasurer

Our total assets as of December 31, 2020, were $1,615,600.

The College is a member-driven organization. Our revenue is generated through annual membership fees, and our financial decisions are made on that basis. Any organization depends on the involvement and strength of its members. A thriving organization also requires the necessary

Where your membership fees go


funding to fulfill its mandate and realize its goals. In addition to fulfilling our mandated regulatory responsibilities that protect the public, our strategic goals are founded in our members’ collective vision for the future of our profession in this province.




38 NSCSW Annual Report | 2020


Our Budget 2019 Actual

2020 Actual

2021 Estimate

2022 Proposed

(0.7% Fee Increase)

Revenue Applications Registration/Renewal Conference and Workshops Other









$21,957.31 $3,804.98






Discipline Reserve


Accruing Revenue






Human Resources Salaries and Pensions




Group Benefits





Group Insurance





Staff Development





Staff Travel














Total HR Program Investigation and Complaints





Legal Fees





Council and Committee Meeting Expenses









Professional Magazine





AGM and Conferences




Director's Liability Insurance

Marketing and Public Relations






















Booking Keeping





Computer Services









Capital Assests





General Insurance





Interest/bank charges





Professional Development Student and Member Bursaries Total Program Adminstration

Equipment Leases (Roynat) Online Payment Fees

Professional Memberships











Postage Mailing, courier










Rent and Taxes





Stationary and Office Supplies





Internet and Telephone





Total Admin





Total Expenditures














Special Projects

2020 | NSCSW Annual Report 39

Independent Auditor’s Report To the members of Nova Scotia College of Social Workers We have audited the accompanying financial statements of Nova Scotia College of Social Workers (the “Organization”), which comprise the statement of financial position as at December 31, 2020 and the statements of operating revenue and expenses, fund balances and cash flows for the year then ended, and a summary of significant accounting policies and other explanatory information.

Qualif ied Opinion

Auditor’s Responsibility

In our opinion, except for the possible effects of the matter described in the Basis for Qualified Opinion section of our report, the accompanying financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the organization as at December 31, 2020 and the results of its operations and its cash flows for the year then ended in accordance with Canadian accounting standards for non-profit organizations.

Our objectives are to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements as a whole are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error, and to issue an auditor’s report that includes our opinion. Reasonable assurance is a high level of assurance, but is not a guarantee that an audit conducted in accordance with Canadian generally accepted auditing standards will always detect a material misstatement when it exists. Misstatements can arise from fraud or error and are considered material if, individually or in the aggregate, they could reasonably be expected to influence the economic decisions of users taken on the basis of these financial statements. As part of an audit in accordance with Canadian generally accepted auditing standards, we exercise professional judgment and maintain professional skepticism throughout the audit. We also:

Basis for Qualif ied Opinion Note 1 describes the Organization’s accounting policy with respect to capital assets. The Organization expenses all capital asset purchases rather than capitalizing and amortizing them. In this respect, these financial statements are not in accordance with Canadian accounting standards for not-for-profit Organizations. If the capital assets had been capitalized and amortized, the capital asset balance for the current year would have been $14,234 (2019 - $13,793), amortization for the current year would have been $4,946 (2019 - $5,262) and the closing balance of the operating fund would have been ($53,268) (2019 - ($61,066)).

Management’s Responsibility for the Financial Statement Management is responsible for the preparation and fair presentation of these financial statements in accordance with Canadian accounting standards for not-for-profit organizations, and for such internal controls as management determines is necessary to enable the preparation of financial statements that are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error. In preparing the financial statements, management is responsible for assessing the Organization’s ability to continue as a going concern, disclosing as applicable, matters relating to going concern and using the going concern basis of accounting unless management either intends to liquidate the Organization or to cease operations, or has no realistic alternative but to do so. Those charged with governance are responsible for overseeing the Organization’s financial reporting process.

• I dentify and assess the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to fraud or error, design and perform audit procedures responsive to those risks, and obtain audit evidence that is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for our opinion. The risk of not detecting a material misstatement resulting from fraud is higher than for one resulting from error, as fraud may involve collusion, forgery, intentional omissions, misrepresentations, or the override of internal control. •O btain an understanding of internal control relevant to the audit in order to design audit procedures that are appropriate in the circumstances, but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the organization’s internal control. •E valuate the appropriateness of accounting policies used and the reasonableness of accounting estimates and related disclosures made by management. We communicate with those charged with governance regarding, among other matters, the planned scope and timing of the audit and significant audit findings, including any significant deficiencies in internal control that we identify during our audit.



MAY 6, 2021


Statement of Financial Position DECEMBER 31, 2020





Assets Operating Fund Cash Advances to discipline fund Prepaid expenses

$18,184 $1,090




Operational Reserve Fund



Discipline Fund













Practice Fund – Advances to Operating Fund

Liabilities Operating Fund Accounts payable and accrued liabilities Deferred revenue Advances from practice fund Advances from related program

$1664 $909,252

Discipline Fund – Advances from Operating Fund



Fund Balances Operating Fund



Operational Reserve Fund



Discipline Fund







Practice Fund

2020 | NSCSW Annual Report 41

Statement of Operating Revenue & Expenses YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2020 Budget






Application fees




Conferences and workshops


Revenues Memberships












Meeting expenses




Regional and ABSW funds




Scholarships and bursaries










Excess (Deficiency) of Operating Revenue Over Expenses, Before Special Projects




Special Projects




Excess (Deficiency) of Operating Revenue Over Expenses




Expenses Administration


42 NSCSW Annual Report | 2020

Statement of Fund Balances YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2020



Operating Fund Fund Balance – Beginning of Year



Excess (Deficiency) of operating revenue over expenses



Fund Balance – End of Year













Operational Reserve Fund Fund Balance – Beginning of Year Interest revenue from Guaranteed Investment Certificates

Fund Balance – End of Year

Discipline Fund Fund Balance – Beginning of Year Interest revenue from Guaranteed Investment Certificates Expenses

Fund Balance – End of Year

$(18,184) $147,559


2020 | NSCSW Annual Report 43

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