Residential School and Indigenous-Specific Racism Statement: READ HERE – College Anti-Racism Statement: READ HERE



Overview of the profession

Social workers help individuals and families through difficult times, often with deeply personal and sensitive issues.

Social workers are found in many different places such as:

  • hospitals
  • family welfare
  • seniors’ homes and organizations
  • immigration and refugee agencies
  • child protection
  • prisons
  • counselling services
  • and many more

In British Columbia, except for those employed by exempt employers set out in the Social Workers Regulation, anyone representing themselves as a social worker must register with the British Columbia College of Social Workers (BCCSW). This is how they are held accountable to the public for their actions.

You may look for a certificate on the wall or ask to see the membership card indicating your social worker is a Registered Social Worker or Registered Clinical Social Worker.

Registered Social Workers are competent, trustworthy and ethical. They are held responsible by the BCCSW if they do not meet the high standards of the social work profession.

Social workers often provide complex services to vulnerable persons facing difficult times in their lives. Regulation serves the public interest by defining professional practice standards and holding social workers accountable to those standards.

Social Work in the work environment

The College encourages social workers to work in a safe and ethical environment. In support of this, we have developed a General Guidance document which outlines the shared responsibilities of Registered Social Workers, employing agencies and employers.


We have been advised by the Canadian Association of Social Workers, that registered social workers and registered clinical social workers are now recognized as ‘medical practitioners’ under the Income Tax Act.

This means that clinical services provided by RSWs and RCSWs can be claimed on clients’ income tax returns. In accordance with the Medical Expense Tax Credit (METC), the Government of Canada will reimburse recipients of clinical services at the prescribed rate.

In addition to being recognized as an authorized medical practitioner under METC, RSWs and RCSWs ensure that the public receives services from qualified, ethical professionals in the field.

For further information about the METC, please visit:

A list of authorized medical practitioners by province or territory can be found on the Canada Revenue Agency Chart.

For more information and to view the CASW press release, click here.