All Registered Social Workers are bound by the College’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.
The Code of Ethics states clearly, “A social worker shall maintain the best interest of the client as the primary professional obligation.”
Registered Social Workers accept that they will practise according to this Code and the Standards.
As of December 31, 2020, there are currently just over 5,000 Registered Social Workers in BC.
Social Workers focus on enhancing the well-being of individuals, families and communities within the context of the well-being of society. Social Workers believe in the dignity and worth of human beings. They promote social fairness and equal access and distribution of resources and opportunities. Social Workers help people facing difficult life challenges including mental and physical illness; grief and loss; poverty; discrimination; abuse; addiction; divorce; unemployment; disability and educational problems. Social Workers make assessments and develop intervention plans to connect clients to resources; provide counselling and support services; mediate conflict; advocate for services; and strengthen clients’ capacity to successfully manage their problems.
Registered Social Workers must have a university degree in order to practice in the province of BC. A Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) requires four years of university study, with additional years of graduate studies required to obtain a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree.
Social Workers are life long learners, with safety of the public first and foremost. Yearly completion of the Continuing Professional Development program is a requirement for all practicing registrants.
Social workers practice as counsellors and administrators in governmental agencies including child welfare, family service agencies, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, mental health organizations, community care facilities, addiction programs, treatment centres, employee assistance programs, community living agencies, adoption services, and other similar organizations.
Community development social workers work out of community centres and grassroots social action organizations.
Some social workers are self-employed in private practice, offering counselling, consultative and other services directly to the public or to workplaces on a fee-for-service basis, or by contacting their services to organizations.
Please see a summary of the differences between membership with the BCASW and registration with the BCCSW here.