Connection Magazine April 2018 - Volume 1, Issue 3 & 2017 Annual Report

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C NNECTIONS April 2018 | Volume 1, Issue 3





Innovation in Social Work Practice: CONNECTIONS A Foundation for our Future 2018 NSCSW Spring Conference & Annual General Meeting

CONNECTIONS May 11-12, 2018

Best Western Chocolate Lake Hotel, Halifax, NS Two days of learning, connection & growth as we highlight innovative social work methodologies, research, and lessons from the past and present to guide us in our future.


Register at by Friday, May 4, 2018.

C NNECTION C NNECTION register online



April 2018 | Volume 1, Issue 3

Published four 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: Harold Beals (RSW) Bessie Harris (RSW)

Phone: 902.429.7799 Fax: 902.429.7650

Shalyse Sangster (SWC) Alec Stratford (RSW, College Staff) Annemieke Vink (RSW, College Staff)

Web: Connection is © Copyright 2018 by

Collette Deschenes (Promotions Coordinator) ADVERTISING IN CONNECTION:

the Nova Scotia College of Social Workers,

To advertise please contact Collette Deschenes,

and also reserves copyright for all articles.

Promotions Coordinator at

Reproduction without written permission

from the publisher is not allowed. See advertising rates at Next issue: July 2018 Submission deadline: June 7th 2018


20 22



TABLE OF CONTENTS Volume 1, Issue 3


5 Connection | April 2018


Advocacy, Candidacy, Ethics & more









Promoting Private Practice

Social Justice that Lives in our Professional Practice

Connected to your College

We Stand in Solidarity with Vulnerable Populations









New Candidacy Mentorship Program (CMP)

Spotlight on our Membership

Creating Learning Opportunities to Help Us Grow

Bringing Change to Life & Celebrating 2018 #NationalSocialWorkMonth

Advocacy, Candidacy, Ethics & more

The College’s Top 5 Accomplishments in 2017 As the College’s Executive Director/Registrar, I’ve had the honour and privilege to oversee and help lead our growth and development in 2017. It was a year that saw great reflection and analysis of what the College could be to social workers, the public and other core stakeholders. We’ve had magnificent achievements which would not be possible without the hard work of our Council, committees, College staff and members I’m enthused to share what I believe are the College’s top 5 accomplishments in 2017.

5) MEMBER ENGAGEMENT Part of our 2017 vision included building authentic, two-way communication with members. This started with our biweekly member newsletter to continuously highlight College activities, professional development opportunities and more. We also sparked engaged conversation through our social media platforms and blog. Most importantly, we’ve built meaningful face-to-face conversations and collaboration with members by rebuilding our committees. I’m proud to see the Candidacy, Social Justice, Professional Development, Professional Standards, Private Practice, Social Policy and Connection Magazine Editorial committees all come to life. As a member-driven organization, we rely heavily on volunteers to help shape the profession. This engagement was also the driving force in building the College’s five-year strategic plan.

4) ETHICS TRAINING Alec Stratford, MSW, RSW Registrar/Executive Director

A significant highlight in 2017 was visiting social workers in communities across Nova Scotia to explore social work ethics. This was an opportunity to engage with members but it was also an opportunity to reflect on the unique values and worldview that social workers bring to the province of Nova Scotia. Together we explored the roots of professional social work identity, the ideologies that inform our values, beliefs and ethics and how these relate to the dominant ideology. We examined the intersection of oppression and privilege as the foundation of relational ethics. We also explored the College’s ethical decision-making tool grounded in a self-reflective process guided by personal experiences and values. The conversations have been rich and invigorating.

6 Connection | January 2018





We’ve explored social work ethics in these communities


3) CONNECTION MAGAZINE With your input and support we transformed Connection from the ground up to reflect social workers values and stories. The creation of a new Connection magazine continues to be an exciting journey. We’ve created a full-colour digital magazine that is distributed to social workers, government, community & advocacy groups and more on a quarterly basis. Connection illustrates the realities and challenges that social workers face, promotes the profession’s passionate work and brings the stories from our community to life. The magazine clearly highlights our province’s social workers as leaders who provide essential services to help Nova Scotians lead healthier, happier lives.

2) CANDIDACY PROGRAM The work to revise the Candidacy Program was important to the College’s regulatory objectives. The Candidacy Committee carefully reflected and worked hard to build a program that supports social work as a complex, nuanced, and contextual practice. The future candidacy program will work to counter and resist the negative effects of neo-liberalism and managerialism which erode social work’s professional identity, creates ethical

7 Connection | April 2018

dilemmas and increases burnout. The new program is an opportunity for candidates to engage in a strategic, supportive and educational professional development experience rooted in principles of adult learning. Candidates will be linked with experienced social workers (mentors) and will be provided with educational and supportive mentorship to integrate knowledge, apply skill, and actions ethics in a candidate’s first years of practice.

1) ADVOCACY The College’s transition to lead social justice and advocacy towards the public good has been a significant achievement. Council has committed to implementing two advocacy strategies aimed at child protection and mental health over the next year and early signs point to these actions having a meaningful impact. Social workers know these systems intimately and they desperately need a change in their models. I look forward to bringing this change to life. The Social Policy Committee is building a social policy framework to help us proactively and reactively respond to the issues that matter to members. In addition, as the College’s Registrar/Executive Director, I’ve joined the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives-Nova Scotia as the chair of the steering committee as I support the development of a provincial action coalition aimed at creating a Nova Scotia without poverty.


New Private Practitioners, Registered Social Workers and Social Worker Candidates JANUARY 2018-MARCH 2018

REGISTERED SOCIAL WORKERS Erin Casey Christie Kijewski Martin Maclean Jody Billard Lisa Walsh Kasey Lebans Danielle Butler Brittany Eisner Christiane Hessian Samantha Bonaparte Chelsea Cullingworth Amanda McKiel Samantha Mason Victoria Sanford Orrell Amy Leblanc Nerisa Denny

Kayla Norton Sandra Maddigan Heather Chiasson Robyn Jackman Katie O’Neil Caitlin MacDonald Katherine Ryan Penelope Church Elaine Howell

SOCIAL WORK CANDIDATES Rhea Farris Juliana Paul Cathy Collin

Carrie Steele Sharon Fernandez Kelly Delorey Andrea Shaheen Abby Challoner Geraldine Beaton Catherine Shears Jennifer Murray–Stokes Colin Morrison Daniela Mayo Rebecca Shaw Melissa Spencer Shanda White Paige English-Lillos Lisa McGrath Shalyse Sangster

Join the conversation



College’s committee lays a foundation to highlight private practice BY TONYA GRANT, MSW, RSW, PRIVATE PRACTICE COMMITTEE CO-CHAIR

The College reinstated the Private Practice Committee in April, 2017 to review and create recommendations on the current process and criteria to approve social workers for private practice. We initially conducted an environmental scan of the private practice criteria for other social work regulatory bodies across the country and other organizations in related fields in North America. With this information, we mapped out recommendations for future practice criteria and created the documents (Areas of Specialty for Private Practice Application Form, Specialty Area List, and a Private Practice Referral Form) to support the recommended changes. Next we’ll present our recommendations to the College’s Executive Director/Registrar, Council and Board of Examiners with the hope of bringing the proposed changes to the NSCSW membership for a vote. Since April 2017, we’ve reviewed the following topics as they relate to private practice: criminal records checks, clinical ASBW exams, setting a minimum recommended fee for services, competencies and maintaining socially just considerations in private practice. We also steadily receive questions about where Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) practitioners fit into private practice. The committee is currently drafting up responses to these questions. It’s the Private Practice Committee’s goal to highlight the value and focus of private practice and to increase supports for social workers in private practice. We’ve created the Private Practice Advocacy Action Plan to advocate for inclusive insurance coverage. Many initiatives are underway to promote private practice and advocate to key stakeholders that can help to make private practice more assessable across the province including a letter explaining the unique, dynamic and excellent practice of social workers and plan to meet with key stakeholders to highlight our strengths.

11 Connection | April 2018

We’ve laid a solid foundation for our work and headed into the future our committee is dedicated to increasing supports and supervision opportunities for private practice social workers across the province so that we can continue to provide creative and client-driven services with our extraordinary social work lens.

COMMITTEE MEMBERS: April Munro-Wood, Nelda Armour, Pam Roberts, Kevin MacDougal, Heidi Sturgeon, Beth Toomey, Jeff Karabanow, Annemieke Vink, Jennifer van Kessel, and Sherry Battiste (Staff liason).

ARE YOU A SOCIAL WORKER IN PRIVATE PRACTICE? As a member, the CASW Liability Insurance Program is available to you and offers a full range of coverage specifically designed to meet your practice risk needs. Coverage options include protection for professional liability, commercial general liability, cyber security and privacy liability, and business related coverages. Learn more about this liability insurance program at


All social work begins with a conscious review of the values and theory that guide practice, while taking stock of the context in which interventions will occur. This year the Social Justice Committee, created to focus on strengthening the College’s social justice mandate, invested considerable energy in defining the work and understanding of what it involves.

While challenging injustice, social justice is

We arrived at the following definition:

and current relationship between the individual,

the process of upholding human rights and the equitable distribution of resources, supporting the dignity of all, andacknowledging the historical

groups, society, and the environment.

12 Connection | April 2018

Ngozi Otti, previous NSCSW advisor, and committee member Valerie White presented this definition, along with an overview of our work, to social workers at the Fall Conference in Truro. They emphasized the larger goal of encouraging social workers to consciously integrate the pursuit of a socially just society into all professional practice. After the College’s Fall Conference, we began planning a Spring consultation session on mental health in our province. The April 14th workshop, open to the profession, first voices, diverse communities and professional groups concerned with mental health, will identify guiding principles that will support the NSCSW Council’s advocacy for conditions that contribute to optimum mental health for the population of Nova Scotia. Theses principles will strengthen our voice in the critical discussion of what is foundational to the mental health and well-being of all Nova Scotians.

As a new chairperson, my thoughts have been moving toward the possibility of mobilizing social workers throughout the province as a force for action on the College’s social justice priorities. Your suggestions, and your interest in becoming local advocates, are most welcome as we sort out how we can transform a definition of justice into something that lives and changes lives and communities. We urgently need your help.

COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Jim Morton (Chair), Annemieke Vink (Staff liaison), Harold Beals, Dermot Monaghan, Valerie White, Samantha Molen, Megan McBride, Haley MacIntosh, and Heather Smith.

Superheroes For Hire!

helping kids discover their greatness

Tonya Grant (left) Sherry Battiste (right)

CONNECTED TO YOUR COLLEGE We launched our fresh new brand in October 2016 along with our goal to increase engagement and to build meaningful relationships with our members. We sought out ways to not only share College news and events, but to gain insight into the realities and challenges that Nova Scotia social workers face. Over the last year and a half, we’ve continued to build connections with members through our social media platforms, our blog, bi-weekly newsletters, Connection magazine and most importantly, face-to-face through professional development and volunteer opportunities.

Your College in the Media As part of our goal to proactively respond to the issues that matter, we’ve been active in the media advocating for change and for policies that improve social conditions, challenge injustice and value diversity.

We’ve had authentic conversations with social workers from Sydney to Yarmouth, built a strong group of member volunteers and continue to spark new connections and seek out more opportunities to engage with members.

14 Connection | April 2018

Our partners at the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives Nova Scotia (CCPA-NS) recently released the 2017 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Nova Scotia. Statistics show that the child poverty rate in the province went down less than a percentage point in 2015 compared to 2014. As Nova Scotians, we aim to keep all children safe, however, the tools at social worker’s hands to support vulnerable families to stay safe have become fewer and fewer. The changes to the Child and Family Services Act continue to penalize individual families for issues that as a society we are responsible for.The CCPA-NS’s report reminds us that the cycle of abuse, poverty and neglect are ours as Nova Scotians to change.

Op-ed: Child poverty is felt in our province and it’s time for change Nova Scotia Advocate, November 24, 2017

When social workers are handling heavy

The Nova Scotia College of Social Workers

caseloads and constantly putting out fires,

says amendments made earlier this year to

our clients don’t receive the services they

the Child Youth and Services Act has created

need,” said Alec Stratford, Executive Director/

unmanageable caseloads for the province’s

Registrar of the Nova Scotia College of

social workers.

Social Workers. “Providing high-quality social work services means having a focus on a relational approach, embedded in empathy and solidarity with the client towards social justice. The research shows that the needs of children and their families get lost when social workers have large caseloads and high levels of stress.

The executive director of the Nova Scotia College of Social Workers, Alec Stratford said the changes were designed to bring more children into the service at an earlier stage, before they had to be removed from their families. Stratford says this has increased caseloads significantly for social workers without any additional resources.

More evidence of burnout amongst front-line workers NDP Media Release, September 18, 2017

Nova Scotia’s social workers say their stress is impacting the care of vulnerable children, October 18, 2017

15 Connection | April 2018

Contribute to Connection Magazine Connect with Nova Scotia’s social workers, advocacy and community groups, heath care professionals and more. We invite your original articles on:

Write for a specific section of Connection: Ethics in Action, Social Justice, Private

• New developments in any area of social work • Findings from research that relates to the practice of social work or social justice • Opinion pieces on social justice and social work related issues

16 Connection | April 2018

Practice, Diverse Communities, Research, Social Work Spotlight. Learn more at

Advertise an Event or Job Opportunity

Advertising Rates & Specs

Connection Magazine: Share your message with over 1900 social workers in Connection magazine. Connection is a full colour magazine that is distributed quarterly to Nova Scotia social workers, government,


community groups and more.

Full Page w/o Bleed: $400 • Size: 8.5” x 11”

Contact the College’s Promotions Coordinator, Collette Deschenes at

Half Page: $200 • Size: 7.5” x 4.75”

to book your advertisement. FULL PAGE w/o BLEED

Bi-weekly Newsletter: The College distributes a bi-weekly newsletter to Nova Scotia social worker members connected with the social work community. College news, professional development


opportunities, upcoming events and more. We do accept content submissions in FYI section of the newsletter, to a maximum of 50 words. Content must be of interest to Nova Scotia social workers. All submissions are subject to editing for tone, style and clarity. Submit your item by completing the form at

17 Connection | April 2018

1/4 Page: $100 • Size: 3.5” x 4.75” 1/8 Page: $50 • Size: 3.5” x 2.125”

to keep them informed, engaged and This members-only newsletter includes

Full Page w/ Bleed: $400 • Safe area: 7.5”x10” • Trim size: 8 .5”x11” +.125” • With Bleed: 8.75” x 11.25”

1/4 PAGE

1/8 PAGE

NSCSW members receive a 25% discount on all advertising. File Formats • Preferred file format is a print quality PDF • All images in artwork must be no less than 330 DPI • All fonts to be converted to outlines


The College’s Social Policy Committee first came together in July 2017 to promote alternative social policies through research and advocacy. As Nova Scotian social workers, we acknowledge that far too many of our community members struggle because of racism and discrimination, social inequality, a lack of affordable housing, food insecurity, inadequate mental health resources and the impact of trauma.

We work with these vulnerable populations daily and witness the inter-generational cycle created by inequalities. We apply a whole-person perspective when working with clients by acknowledging their lived experience within our societal context. We also work in conditions where the top 100 CEOs in Canada earn as much as one of our co-workers before noon on the second day of the calendar year. As social workers on the College’s Social Policy Committee, we affirm our responsibility to speak out against austerity in an age of affluence for those at the top, and privation for those at the bottom.

19 Connection | April 2018

We maintain our commitment to advocating for action on the social determinants of health in our community and acknowledge that our work must encompass advocating for improved governance opportunities through collaborative decision-making between communities and decision makers. Our committee work is guided by acknowledging our responsibility to stand in solidarity with vulnerable communities and we are committed to challenging assumptions and status quo policies that have left many of these communities marginalized and disenfranchised. This past year, we’ve identified our policy priorities and we’ve laid the foundation for our Social Policy Framework. We will use this Social Policy Framework to guide our advocacy activities, to strengthen social work’s voice in our province and maintain our profession’s tradition of supporting individuals, families and communities. Despite the problems we face as Nova Scotians, there are alternative paths we can take as we craft policy – alternatives that hold the promise of a better future for all.

COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Jenifer Van Kessel, Alicia Nolan, Andre Deszi, Laura Toole, Melissa Meyers, Michelle MacLean.


Our committee has varying points of interest, as candidates, as supervisors, as educators, but we are all interested social workers who believe we need a revitalized Candidacy Program in this province. Under the insight and guidance of College staff, we moved forward to make changes in January 2017.

As a committee, we laughed, we re-wrote, we

We completed a review of the existing program as it relates to our existing legislation. We also reviewed the process for new social work graduates in other Canadian jurisdictions.

we are proud to present.

We looked at how the College can integrate the Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics into Candidacy process, something we all felt was critical to the program. We also reviewed the College’s Candidacy Framework – a guide to answer frequently asked questions and help new candidates and their chosen mentors. The newly renamed Candidacy Mentorship Program (CMP), is aligned with social work values of life-long learning and describes the supportive mentorship environment that will be created through the CMP. There was more than a mountain of documents to read, access, understand and to frankly—remember. The reports, the surveys, the ideas, and details were all taken into careful consideration as the evolution of the Candidacy Program inched forward.

20 Connection | April 2018

threw out, we collaborated, we wordsmithed, we teleconferenced and we met for many Saturdays, as we built a new incarnation of a program that

The candidacy period is not meant to clinically supervise or replace employment supervision but rather to enhance a new graduate’s professional practice development. Our committee created appendices to assist candidates and mentors with ‘what to talk about.’ Each appendix, to be found on the College’s website, highlights a Standard of Practice as it relates to the Code of Ethics, complete with ideas, readings, and activities. They are not meant to be prescriptive but we hope they will spark a discussion and be a launching point for candidates and mentors. We encourage mentors to be creative and flexible with activities that enhance the candidate’s knowledge and understanding of the Standards of Practice and the Code of Ethics.

We are recommending candidacy requirement changes. These recommendations include changing the candidacy period to 2500 hours of social work practice for both the BSW and MSW candidates. 500 hours can be in the form of approved volunteer work as we acknowledge not only the time and effort of new social workers, but also acknowledge the climate of part time employment being offset by meaningful volunteer work. The meetings required between candidates and mentors - whether in person, online or by phone has also shifted to reflect these changes, and should be once every 140 hours of practice. A new report format, detailing how a candidate achieved their learning goals, has also been created. The reporting system will be easier to navigate and will be integrated into the College’s website. It will not only submit reports but it will also allow for the College to respond in a timely manner and easily highlight how the candidacy goals are being met. Our work-in-progress includes building the envisioned online reporting features (in collaboration with external experts) and mentorship training with a launch date of September 1, 2018 and a clear transition period for those already engaged in the Candidacy Program.

21 Connection | April 2018

Together we’ve revitalized the Candidacy Mentorship Program through our thoughtful and sometimes challenging work. We’ve created a program that puts the support and mentorship of new graduates and reinforces this as one of the College’s priorities. The new CMP strengthens the profession by fostering continuous learning and engages both candidates and mentors. The CMP ensures that the principles of our Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice remain an integral and integrated foundation of our daily social work practice enhancing both the profession and the safety of our services delivered to the Nova Scotia public regardless of the sector of social work practice. I am proud to be part of this wonderfully insightful group of social workers from across the province and look forward to the work ahead as we continuously engage and welcome new social workers to our profession.

CANDIDACY COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Alphonsine Saulnier, Brenda Boutlier, Carolyn Campbell, Daniel Clairmount, Marie Meagher, Rose Scott-Lincourt, Sarah Oulton, Nicole Blanchard Segal, Kate Matheson & Sherry Battiste (Staff liason).



9% 8%



Social workers by region

8% 3%


Halifax 46%

Annapolis 9%

South Shore 8%

Cumberland 3%

Cape Breton 17%

North Shore 8%

Truro 8%

Fundy Shore 3%

Did you know? Only social workers who are registered with the College can use the title Registered Social Worker (RSW) (or the French equivalent).

22 Connection | April 2018


Social workers completed candidacy 2017

New applications by province

Breakdown of our membership










Private Practitioners












Registered social workers (active)










Social work candidates active

104 Students

54 Retired


Inactive RSW The College’s Candidacy program provides social work graduates with a wide range of social work learning opportunities and experiences with the support of a supervisor. Candidates are mentored to develop competent social work practice by integrating academic knowledge, applied skill, and ethical practice.

23 Connection | April 2018

1958 Total

Member Specialties Here’s a snapshot of practice specialties of Nova Scotia social workers Addiction Services

Adoption / Foster Care / Children in Care

Adult Protection

Military (Other Than Fam Resource Ctr)

School of Social Work

Transition House / Homeless Shelter

University / Community College

Family Service Agency / Family Resource

Hospital (Non-Mental Health)

Mental Health Services

Child Protection

Corrections / Justice

Seniors Centre

Employment / Income Assistance

24 Connection | April 2018


NSCSW members can look forward to learning opportunities that challenge us as social workers, that push us to think ‘outside the box’ and help us in our advocacy efforts and to support our practice to its fullest potential.

The College’s Professional Development Committee is a dedicated group of social workers who provide members with the opportunity to expand their knowledge and skills through meaningful professional development opportunities. This year was busy as we use member feedback from previous events to rebuild how we develop the College’s conference. The Fall 2017 conference brought together members from across the province as we celebrated social work’s past and present. It was our goal, with this conference and all events, to create a professional development opportunity that not only provided new skills, but also provided time to connect with colleagues. We sought out social worker feedback to develop engaging and relevant presentations. The Spring 2018 conference is no exception. The membership spoke and innovation, forward thinking, cultural respect and tangible skills are at the forefront of the conference. We’re building on the fall conference theme and exploring social work’s future as we select presenters who show innovation in their day-to-day social work practice in the areas of Truth and

25 Connection | April 2018

Reconciliation, Child Welfare and Ethics. We’re ready to meet this challenge and we’re excited to see you at the College’s Spring Conference. But we are not stopping there! We are already pushing ahead to develop relevant presentations and workshop opportunities for members throughout Nova Scotia with topics like “exploring your identity as a professional.” NSCSW members can look forward to learning opportunities that challenge us as social workers, that push us to think ‘outside the box’ and help us in our advocacy efforts and to support our practice to its fullest potential.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Holly Meuse (Co-Chair), Annemieke Vink (NSCSW staff liaison), Craig Besaw, Crystal Hill, Linda King, Claire MacDonald-Sampson and Joanne Sulman.

Mercy Kasheke & Tonya Grant at the volunteer reception

BRINGING CHANGE TO LIFE & CELEBRATING 2018 #NationalSocialWorkMonth National Social Work Month every March is an opportunity for us to pause, reflect and recognize the contributions of social workers to society. The theme adopted by the CASW Board for the 2018 National Social Work Month celebrations was Bringing Change to Life. Nova Scotia social workers work for change as our province’s social justice professionals. They shine a light on the changes needed to our systems and structures as they resist and propose alternatives to the systems that continue to oppress the most marginalized.

26 Connection | April 2018

As social workers, you strengthen our province with daily acts of empathy as you work with clients in solidarity towards the liberation from oppressive structures. The College travelled from Sydney to Yarmouth for authentic face-to-face conversations with social workers about their realities as we sought input on our strategic goals for the future. We ended National Social Work Month by celebrating the contributions of our member volunteers March 23, 2018 at the

Judy MacDonald, Annemieke Vink & Afolake Akodu

Alec Stratford & Lynn Brogan

Claire Sampson-MacDonald & Todd Leader

Tonya Grant & Sherry Battiste

Alec Stratford & Judy MacDonald

Celebratory Social Work Month Cake

27 Connection | April 2018

2017 NSCSW Spring Conference

Collaborate with Quicksand your College


Create a professional development opportunity in your community

In collaboration with our social work

We encourage members to seek and create

members, we hosted 11 professional

PD opportunities in their communities that


development (PD) events in addition to our

contribute to the field of social work and the

two conferences in 2017. A huge thank you to

quality of life for Nova Scotians.

our members who created and coordinated these events with help from the College!

College funding is available to support your community PD events.



Bring an event to your community. learn more at

Find out more at

2017 Annual Report

Contents 32

Propelling the College in a Strategic Direction


NSCSW Strategic Plan: Our Foundation for Growth


Board of Examiners Enhances Regulatory Practices & Supports Strong Social Work Practice


Transparency as we Ensure Professional Ethical Social Work for Nova Scotians


Supporting Members through a Solid Financial Future

30 NSCSW Annual Report | 2018


Where Your Membership Fees Go


Our Finances


Auditors Report

Your Council Executive Officers:

Regional Representatives:

Other Representatives:

President: Ezra Wexler

Cape Breton: Catherine Kehoe

CASW Board Member: Debbie Reimer

Vice-President: Todd Leader

Cape Breton: Vacant

Dalhousie University School

Treasurer: Lynn Brogan

Colchester: Vacant

of Social Work Faculty: Judy MacDonald

Secretary: Mercy Kasheke

Cumberland: Donna Fitzpatrick

Dalhousie University School

Past President: Lorna Griffin-Fillier

Fundy Shore: Vacant

of Social Work Student: Ainslee Umlah

To connect with the President of Council

Halifax Metro: Denise Robichaud

Universite Sainte Anne Faculty:


Halifax Metro: Neal Henderson

Veronique Brideau-Cormier

North Shore: Vacant

Universite Sainte Anne Student: Erika Michaud

South Shore: Kate Matheson

Nova Scotia Association

Annapolis Valley: Vacant

of Black Social Workers: Courtney Brown

Board of Examiners: Chair: Tonya Grant

Indigenous Member: Vacant

From left to right: Catherine Kehoe (Cape Brenton

Missing: Todd Leader (Vice-President), Mercy

Rep.), Kate Matheson (South Shore Rep.), Denise

Kasheke (Secretary), Lorna Griffin-Fillier (Past

Robichaud (Halifax Rep.), Courtney Brown (ABSW

President), Tonya Grant (Chair BOE Examiner),

Rep.), Ezra Wexler (President), Judy MacDonald

Debbie Reimer (CASW Board Member), Ainslee

(Dalhousie School of Social Work), Donna Fitzpatrick

Umlah (Dalhousie University School of Social Work

(Cumberland), Lynn Brogan (Treasurer), Neal

Student), Veronique Brideau-Cormier (Universite

Henderson (Halifax Rep.)

Sainte Anne Faculty), Erika Michaud (Universite Sainte Anne Student)

31 NSCSW Annual Report | 2018

Propelling the College in a strategic direction A message from NSCSW Council President 2017 was a year of milestones for the College. We have recognized and celebrated those achievements while looking forward to our future, setting even more goals for us to strive for. As President of the College’s Council, I can report that your College continues to work diligently to broaden the role and increase our impact to better serve Nova Scotians with supported, trained and regulated social workers. This year we marked 100 years of social work in Nova Scotia. Many joined us at the fall conference to celebrate and look back at the profession and its unique role starting here after the Halifax Explosion.

Over those years Nova Scotia social workers developed strong professional practice roles in the various government branches, notably in social services, health care and justice. They also advocated and supported communities within our province including Indigenous, African Nova Scotian, Acadian, and the numerous growing immigrant communities. Social workers were at the forefront of the provincial deinstitutionalization movement, they support workers’ rights from within unions, and are amongst our elected leadership in the municipal and provincial governments. In 2016, we celebrated the appointment of Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard, a NS social worker and founding member of the Association of Black Social Workers (ABSW). This year we saw a record number of registered social workers at 1958 and we continue to attract social workers from across the country. Local university social work programs continue to have strong registration, and our relationship

The strategic plan is in large part of the answer to the question of how the College functions as a hybrid organization – our with the universities has strengthened. Perhaps just as important, we’ve increased our efforts to connect with students to answer their questions about registration and the role of the College in their future practice. We’ve also worked to meet with major social work employers to provide opportunities to both hear and relay areas of interest and tension with some success. These efforts align with our goals moving forward in our new strategic plan.

strategic plan and invite each of you to seek out opportunities for you to engage with the College through one or more of the pillars we are constructing ourselves around.

organization is both

There are noteworthy developments coming this year including meaningful changes to


a regulatory body and a professional

the Candidacy Program and the process for approving private practice. I look forward to helping propel those changes forward on the College’s Council. The first century of social work in Nova Scotia has passed and 2018 is sure to set a course for the second century.

Our strategic plan was developed through an intentional process of communicating, brainstorming, questioning and planning for the College’s future. It was very exciting to develop and we hope that its adoption will propel the College in a concrete and engaging direction that speaks to the potential for social work practice, training and regulation in our province for years to come. The strategic plan is in large part of the answer to the question of how the College functions as a hybrid organization – our organization is both a regulatory body and a professional association. I strongly believe that through our membership services we support social workers to provide a strong professional practice, thus our support of social workers is a part of protecting the public. We are excited about the scope of this

33 NSCSW Annual Report | 2018


2018 | NSCSW Annual Report 33

NSCSW Strategic Plan: Our Foundation for Growth It’s a season for growth at the College as we lay the foundation that will help guide the profession of social work in Nova Scotia and strengthen the College’s voice for social workers and social justice with our draft five-year Strategic Plan.

During 2018 National Social Work Month (NSWM), which celebrates social workers as they bring change to life in communities across Canada, the College brought the strategic plan on the road as we visited social workers across the province to gain further feedback.

In the summer of 2017, we surveyed our social work members to gain insight into changes in the social work community, trends in the social work field and in their social work practice and their experience with the College. College Council then used this valuable feedback to shape the five-year goals and outcomes outlined in the draft plan. The College’s Governance Committee and College staff then refined the draft plan for further consultation with members.

We’ll present the draft plan to members for approval at our Annual General Meeting May 12, 2018 in Halifax, NS.

Together, we’ll create a visible, vibrant and vocal social work community.

34 NSCSW Annual Report | 2018

Our Five-Year Goals We regulate the profession by ensuring the highest standards of professional and ethical social work practice for the people of Nova Scotia.

We are a recognized leader in advocacy and social justice working to protect Nova Scotians.

Outcomes Nova Scotians see the Candidacy Program as a strong and relevant approach to regulation. The NSCSW has removed barriers to labour mobility between provinces. Members bring the spirit of the Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics to life.

Nova Scotians see the NSCSW as a credible source for critical analysis and innovative solutions to social justice issues. Government actively engages the NSCSW to inform policies and legislation that impact social justice and social planning. The College actively and reflectively works towards embedding the recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into its activities.

Nova Scotians value social

Social workers are influencers in positions of leadership,

work knowledge, experience

Nova Scotians are aware of the diversity of social work practice,

and training.

Employers recruit Registered Social Workers for their essential social work lens grounded in human rights, equity and social justice. Social Workers are engaged in meaningful and rewarding work, that makes a difference to the social conditions in Nova Scotia.

We are a centre for social work resources, professional development, ethical consultations, research

Members are supported by the College throughout their career and are a part of the NSCSW’s progressive support. Members contribute to social work’s collective voice. NSCSW works to enhance social worker well-being.

voice for social work.

Social workers from marginalized communities and both urban and rural settings are engaged with the NSCSW and their voice is represented within the organization.

We are responsible,

Nova Scotians value and trust the NSCSW.

accountable and

Demonstrated accountability as a regulatory body.


Clear autonomy of regulatory function and membership services.

and act as the collective

35 NSCSW Annual Report | 2018

The College’s Board of Examiners helps to shape the social work profession as they decide on the registration of each social work applicant. The Executive Director/Registrar

The Board issues direction for

Board members keep the

processes and presents all

certification of Registration

register up to date and secure

applications in front of the

and renewals and Registers

the office of the Board of

Board for registration as

Social Workers, Social Worker

Examiners through the

Registered Social Workers,

candidates, and Registered

Executive Director/Registrar.

Social Work Candidates, and

Social Workers (Provisionals).

Registered Workers (provisional).

36 NSCSW Annual Report | 2018

Board of Examiners enhances regulatory practices & supports strong social work practice BY TONYA GRANT, NSCSW BOE CO-CHAIR, MSW, RSW

The Board of Examiners (BOE) is an integral part of the College as they work extremely hard to approve Social Work Candidates, Registered Social Workers, Private Practitioners and Candidacy Supervisors in a fair and timely manner. It is always so wonderful to see the remarkable social workers practicing in Nova Scotia and to witness the dedication of experienced social workers who step up to mentor Social Work Candidates. The Complaints Committee - a subcommittee of the Board of Examiners - also works incredibly hard to ensure public safety using the College’s Code of Ethics as the guidepost to conduct fair, consistent, and transparent processes for complaints. The BOE relies on the complex work, expertise and care that goes into investigating and mitigating complaints. In 2017, the Board welcomed eight new board members who brought a dose of great energy and input to our monthly reflections, discussions and consultations on many important topics that impact the social work profession.

37 NSCSW Annual Report | 2018

The BOE also consulted on: Association of Social Work Boards exams, the College’s Candidacy process, Capacity Assessments, Scope of Practice Assessment, Membership surveys, Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA), Fair Registration Practice ACT (FRPA), the NSCSW Application & Renewal Policy Manual and the College’s five-year strategic plan. We continued to identify issues with the inefficiency of the private practice application process. The inefficient process often lead to further requests for additional information from applicants or multiple reviews of the applicant’s practice criteria. The concerns about the current process often slowed down approvals which resulted in frustrations for both the BOE and the private practice applicants. The BOE recommended that the private practice approval process be reviewed and updated. As a result, the College’s private practice committee was reinstated. Headed into the future, we’ll continue to build a foundation for strong social work practice as we enhance regulatory practices that promote public safety and support social workers across the province to provide the most socially just and competent social work practices on the micro, mezzo and macro levels.

BOARD OF EXAMINERS: Mark Scales ( Vice-chair), Lynn Cheek, Pam Roberts, Justin Adams (Government Appointee), Lisandra Naranjo (Public Member), Jacquelyn Allen, Funke Salami (Public Member) , Shireen Singer, Janet Pothier, Fred Gaspar, Jeff Karabanow (Dalhousie School Of Social Work), Joline Comeau, and Angela Gee.

Transparency as we ensure professional ethical social work for Nova Scotians It’s certainly been a year of growth for the College as we continued to fulfill our mandate to serve and protect Nova Scotians by effectively regulating the profession of social work. We’ve changed how we respond to complaints and our regulatory obligations and a new complaints manual was developed that incorporated all our legislative requirements. The process for how to make a complaint also became more transparent to our public and members on our website.

In November 2017 Marjorie Hickey and Ryan Baxter from McInnes/Cooper provided an educational program on self-regulation, complaints and discipline. They also provided the College’s Complaints Committee members with step-by-step information on the complaints investigation process. A few successes included resolving many complaints without going to discipline. We also changed how we communicate with the introduction of “decision letters”.


These letters improved communications between the Complaints Committee, the complainant, and respondent in point form. Overall our process is becoming more transparent to our members and the public as we ensure the highest standards of professional, ethical social work for the people of Nova Scotia.

A look at 2017 Complaints Type

7 2 16 5

Breached the Code of Ethics Incompetence Professional Misconduct Conduct Unbecoming the Profession

38 NSCSW Annual Report | 2018



17 6 2 5




3rd Party

17 3 2 8

Dismissed (no grounds) Letter of Counsel Reprimand with Consent Ongoing

Who can make a complaint? Any Nova Scotian may make a complaint to the NSCSW in writing against a social work member. A complaint may be made based off: 1. Professional misconduct which includes conduct or acts relevant to the social work profession that, regarding all circumstances, would reasonably be regarded as disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional. This may include but is not limited to: • contravening the Social Workers Act, regulations or by-laws • failing to maintain the standards of practice of social work • failing to uphold the Code of Ethics adopted by the College • abusing a person verbally, physically, emotionally or sexually • misappropriating personal property or other property belonging to a client or a member’s employer • failing to exercise appropriate discretion in respect of the disclosure of confidential information • falsifying records

2. Incompetence which is a social worker’s display of lack of knowledge, skill or judgement in the respondent’s delivery of social work services that, having regard to all the circumstances, rendered the respondent unsafe to practise at the time of such delivery of social work services or that renders the respondent unsafe to continue in practice without remedial assistance.

3. A breach of the Code of Ethics. 4. Conduct unbecoming by a Registered Social Worker, a Registered Social Worker Candidate or a Registered Social Worker (Provisional) which is conduct outside the practice of social work that tends to bring discredit upon the social work profession.

39 NSCSW Annual Report | 2018

Supporting members through a solid financial future NSCSW Treasurer’s Update BY LYNN BROGAN, MSW, RSW

How often have you heard how social work and finances are incongruent – they’re at polar opposites? How often have you been in a room with other professionals, where the topic is finances, and you feel dismissed or there is a direct joke that propels a prevailing myth that finances is simply not a strong suit of social workers? Sometimes these jokes are even made by us! The fact of the matter is while social workers may not have the same skill set as accountants, nor is that an expectation, they face and must negotiate resource challenges every day in their pursuit to support the needs of our province’s vulnerable population. In fact, social workers are quite skilled at presenting the case for resources at a case plan level, for making solid financial decisions at an organizational level and for making sophisticated and compelling arguments for resources at a system level. Resource needs translate into having the necessary finances to improve the wellbeing and social conditions for those who are marginalized, disadvantaged, vulnerable or who have special needs. For organizations like the NSCSW, having the necessary finances is mission critical. While issues related to finances and financial management are often viewed as a mystical arena which only a select few understand and perform, they are simply skill sets that can be learned and represent one more tool in our tool box.

40 NSCSW Annual Report | 2018

It is a time of significant change and growth for the College as it strives to attain a professional identity and credibility that you are proud to be a member. Our renewed mandate and 5-year strategic plan are onerous and invigorating. To achieve the outcomes, our path forward will require the College’s continued dedication and commitment to ensuring our financial condition remains strong. The College is a member driven organization whose revenue is generated through membership annual fees. These fees provide the financial framework for financials decisions to be made. We have all heard and understand to be true that an organization depends on the involvement and strength of its members. A thriving organization also requires the necessary funding to fulfill its mandate and realize its goals. Currently the College is in solid financial condition. In 2017, our revenue totaled $827,780 and our expenditures, totaled $822,384. Our total assets as of Dec 31st were at $1,460,451. Ending 2017 in a strong position ensured Council was to meet its financial obligations regarding funding amounts in both the operational and discipline reserve fund. It is best practice for organizations like the College to have the equivalent of 3-6 months of operational expenditures to cover the costs of unforeseen expenses, as well as, any financial commitments we have incurred in the event of an organizational closure. Currently our operational reserve has a balance of $490,000.

Complaints matters are often complicated and expensive. While it is difficult to precisely determine the required funding for complaints in any given year Council has determined $150,000 to be an appropriate level for our Discipline Reserve Fund. This amount has been secured in a reserve fund. Reserve funds are separate accounts where funds are kept for specific circumstances. No funds from these accounts can be used without formal approval from Council. While the College hasn’t implemented a fee increase for the past 7 years, given the stable condition of the College, Council approved a budget for 2019 that includes no increase in fees.

The College is a member driven organization whose revenue is generated through membership annual fees. These fees provide the financial framework for financials decisions to be made. We have all heard and understand to be true that an organization depends on

Where your membership fees go

the involvement and strength of its members. A thriving organization also requires the necessary funding to fulfill its mandate and realize its goals.




41 NSCSW Annual Report | 2018

Our Finances Ending 2017 in a strong position ensured Council was to meet its financial obligations regarding funding amounts in both the operational and discipline reserve fund. It is best practice for organizations like the College to have the equivalent of 3-6 months of operational expenditures to cover the costs of unforeseen expenses, as well as, any financial commitments we have incurred in the event of an organizational closure. Currently our operational reserve has a balance of $490,000.

2017 Estimated

2017 Actual

2018 Estimated

2019 Proposed









Conference and Professional Development





Interest Earned



Applications Registration/Renewal

Operating Fund/Surplus




$ 77,270.00





Accruing Revenue





Salaries and Pensions






Group Benefits





Group Insurance





Staff Development





Staff Travel














Total HR Investigation and Complaints





Council and Committee Meeting Expenses









Professional Magazine





AGM and Conferences





Marketing and Public Relations





Professional Development
















$12,000.00 $12,000.00

Director’s Liability Insurance

Student and Member Bursaries Total Program Audit




Computer Services





Online Payment Fees





Booking Keeping

Equipment Leases (Roynat)





Equipment Purchases









General Insurance





Legal Fees





Professional Memberships

Interest/bank charges










Postage Mailing, courier





Printing/copy Rent and Taxes Stationary and Office Supplies

















Total Admin





Total Expenditures







$ -

$ -



$ -

$ -

Internet and Telephone

Surplus Special Projects

43 NSCSW Annual Report | 2018

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, which comprise the statement of financial position as at December 31, 2017 and the statements of fund equity, operating support and expenditures and cashflows for the year then ended, and a summary of significant accounting policies and other explanatory information.

Management’s Responsibility for the Financial Statements 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.

Auditor’s Responsibility Our responsibility is to express an opinion on these financial statements based on our audit. We conducted our audit in accordance with Canadian audit standards. Those standards require that we comply with ethical requirements and plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free from material misstatement. An audit involves performing procedures to obtain audit evidence about the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. The procedures selected depend on the auditor’s judgement, including the assessment of the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to fraud or error. In making those risk assessments, the auditor considers internal controls relevant to the entity’s preparation and fair presentation of the financial statements 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 entity’s internal controls. An audit also includes evaluating the appropriateness of accounting policies used and the reasonableness of accounting estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements. We believe that the audit evidence we have obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for our qualified audit opinion.

Basis for Qualif ied Opinion Note 1 describes the Society’s accounting policy with respect to capital assets. The Society 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 $22,426 (2016 -$14,208), amortization for the current year would have been $6,464 (2016 - $2,507) and the closing balance of net assets would have been $743,959 (2016 - $729,961).

Qualif ied Opinion In our opinion, except for the effect of the matter described in the preceding paragraph, the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of Nova Scotia College of Social Workers as at December 31, 2017 and the results of its operations and its cash flow for the year then ended, in accordance with Canadian accounting standards for non-profit organizations.



APRIL 27, 2018


44 NSCSW Annual Report | 2018

Statement of Financial Position DECEMBER 31, 2017

















Accounts payable and accrued liabilities



Deferred revenue









Operational Reserve Fund



Discipline Fund





$ 1,460,451

$ 1,420,177

Assets Operating Fund Cash Prepaid Expenses Operational Reserve Fund Guaranteed investment certificates (note 3) Discipline Fund Guaranteed investment certificates (note 3) Practice Fund Due from Operating Fund

Liabilities and Fund Balances Operating Fund

Due to Practice Fund

Operating Fund

Practice Fund

45 NSCSW Annual Report | 2018

Statement of Operating Revenue & Expenses YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2017










Conferences and workshops














Meeting expenses




Regional and ABSW funds




Scholarships and bursaries










$ 40,957

$ (705)


Revenues Memberships Application fees

Expenses (Schedule 1) Administration


Excess (Deficency) of Operating Revenue Over Expenditures

46 NSCSW Annual Report | 2018

Statement of Fund Balances YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2017










$ 299,817





Transfers from Operating Fund



Transfers from Discipline Fund



Fund Balance - End of year











$ 272,659

$ 154,995

Operating Fund Fund Balance - Beginning of year Excess (deficiency) of operating revenue over expenses Transfers to Operational Reserve and Discipline Fund

Fund Balance - End of year

Operational Reserve Fund Fund Balance - Beginning of year Interest revenue from GIC

Discipline Fund Fund Balance - Beginning of year Interest revenue from GIC Transfers from (to) Operating Fund Transfers from Operational Reserve Fund

Fund Balance - End of year

47 NSCSW Annual Report | 2018

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