Who is required to register?

In accordance with The Social Work Profession Act which came into force on April 1, 2015, only those who hold a current Certificate of Practice with the Manitoba College of Social Workers are authorized to use the title Social Worker or represent themselves as Social Workers, either expressly or by implication. Any person who uses the title “Social Worker”, “Registered Social Worker” or represents him/herself as a Social Worker must be registered with the College regardless of job title, position or designation. Additionally, any person who uses any sign, display or advertisement implying they are a Social Worker must be registered with the College.

What is “title protection”?

In Manitoba, only those individuals who are registered as members of the College can refer to themselves as a “Social Worker”, “Registered Social Worker” or any variation of the designation.

What does the prohibition on “holding out” or “representing” oneself as a Social Worker mean?

Only those who are registered as members of the College can represent themselves, expressly or by implication, so as to lead members of the public to conclude that they are Social Workers, Registered Social Workers or registered members of the College.
In determining the need for practitioners to register, the College will consider:

  • the setting in which the individual provides service
  • the nature of the clientele served by the individual
  • the nature of the services provided or offered
  • whether clients believe service is provided by a Social Worker; and
  • whether a reasonable member of the public would infer that the individual is a Social Worker

Why are “title protection” and the prohibitions on “holding out” and “representing” necessary for social workers?

Professional regulation provides the public with the reasonable expectation that those individuals representing themselves as Social Workers have the specialized knowledge and skills required for entry to practice. The primary goal of title protection and professional regulation is to protect the public interest and promote public confidence in the profession of Social Work. The public has a right to know that they are receiving services from competent professionals dedicated to professional accountability who abide by recognized standards of practice and ethical conduct.

Adapted from Perspective, Fall/Winter 2003/2004, Volume 2, Number 1 – Use of Title and Holding Out Provisions with the permission of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers

Who is eligible to become a member of the Manitoba College of Social Workers?

The College will maintain three Registers. These include:

  • Social Worker Register
  • Student Register
  • Corporations Register
Use of Social Worker Designation

YOUR SOCIAL WORK DESIGNATION – A MARK OF PROFESSIONALISM

The Manitoba College of Social Workers grants the designations “Registered Social Worker” and “Social Worker” to registrants in good standing that signify that you:

  • Are entitled to practice as a Social Worker in Manitoba
  • Possess social work knowledge and skills
  • Are committed to maintaining and increasing professional knowledge through ongoing professional education
  • Belong to a community of qualified and competent professionals committed to adhering to an approved Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice

The designations “Social Worker”, “Registered Social Worker”, “S.W.” and “R.S.W” are important distinctions that the College encourages Practicing Social Workers to use to promote professionalism in social work.

Designations authorized by MCSW are limited to those listed above.

HOW AND WHEN TO USE YOUR PROFESSIONAL DESIGNATION

Practicing Social Workers

Social Workers registered in the Practicing category may use the designations: “Social Worker” or “Registered Social Worker” and the initials “SW” or “RSW” following their names. Social Workers are also required to include their highest post-secondary academic credential in his or her professional signature in order to ensure clarity regarding academic qualifications [SWPA Regulation 21(1)]

    i.e. Kate Carter, MSW, RSW

Non-Practicing Social Workers

Those registered in the Non-Practicing Category may represent themselves as Non-Practicing members of the Manitoba College of Social Workers. Since The Social Work Profession Act limits the use of the titles and designations “Social Worker”, “Registered Social Worker”, “SW” or “RSW.” to those who hold a valid Certificate of Practice, Non-Practicing Members must be cautious about the use of the title “Social Worker” so as not to mislead the public that they are currently authorized to practice as a Social Worker.

Students

Those on the Student Register may represent themselves as Social Work Student members of the Manitoba College of Social Workers. Student membership does not authorize the use of the title or representation “Social Worker”, “Registered Social Worker” or the designation “SW” or “RSW”

ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS

Social Workers who hold a doctoral degree and who choose to use the title “doctor” may do so but must ensure his or her social work credential is clearly indicated so as not to mislead the public. If practicing in a health care setting, Social Workers with doctoral degrees must be particularly mindful of their representation in order to ensure that the title in that setting does not mislead the public or colleagues, that that he or she is a Doctor of Medicine. [SWPA Regulation 21(2)]

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Use of Legal Name

Social Workers value openness and transparency in professional practice [Code of Ethics, Value 4]. With any regulated profession, the public is entitled to know the name of the person from whom they are receiving service.  If a member of the public wants to confirm that they are receiving services from a Social Worker in good standing, it is important that the name under which the Social Worker practices is the same as on the public Register.  For these reasons, both the name under which the Social Worker practices and name on the Certificate of Practice must be the Social Worker’s legal name.

In the event of safety concerns or other extenuating circumstances related to the use of a legal name, a member may contact the College for exceptional accommodation, to be determined on a case by case basis.

Frequently asked questions:

*Please note, the names used as examples belong(ed) to real people and are used to provide context.

Q: Everyone knows me by my first two initials.  How should I reflect this in my practice, including in how I introduce myself and what I put in writing in places like my business cards, letters and my email signature?

A: Provide your legal name both verbally and in writing.  Provide your “common” (commonly known as) name in brackets:

i.e. “Kathryn Dawn (KD) Lang”

Q: I legally changed my name when I got married, but have always used by birth name in my practice.  How do I make sure that my clients and colleagues can still find me?

A: Provide your legal name both verbally and in writing.  Provide your “common” (commonly known as) name in brackets:

i.e. “Todd (Baechle) Fink”

Q: I have multiple middle names and have always gone by one of my middle names. How should I proceed?

A: Provide your legal name both verbally and in writing.  Provide your “common” (commonly known as) name in brackets:

i.e. “Joseph Philippe (Pierre) Yves Elliott Trudeau”

Q: Everyone knows me by a variation of my name.  How do I make sure I’m being transparent in my practice and clear about my name?

A: Provide your legal name both verbally and in writing.  Provide your “common” (commonly known as) name in brackets:

i.e. “Ibola (Ibi) Szalai Grossman”

or

i.e. “Dr. Marjorie (Maggie) Hodgson”

Q: People know me by another (cultural/honour/family) name.  How can I be sure that I can be found on the register?

A: Provide your legal name both verbally and in writing.  Provide your “common” (commonly known as) name in brackets:

i.e. “Cheryl (Bear) Barnetson”

or

i.e.  “Marion (Grandmother) Ironquil Meadmore”

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Standards of Practice

The Standards of Practice for Social Workers set out fundamental standards of professional practice for members of the Manitoba College of Social Workers (MCSW). This is in accordance with the vision of MCSW to serve the public interest through the regulation of, and support to, the social work profession in Manitoba (MCSW Bylaw, Article 1-3 – Vision).

While it is recognized that there are variations in practice methods and settings throughout Manitoba, the Standards are intended to apply to a broad scope of Social Work practice. The Standards of Practice describe the basis on which safe, competent and ethical practice is conducted. For each of the Standards, practice directives have been provided to guide Social Work practice and conduct. All Social Workers and Social Work students are encouraged to be familiar with the Standards of Practice as a significant reference for professional practice and conduct in Manitoba.

Download the Standards of Practice

The use of technology has become a key component of social work practice.  In order to provide guidance and support to Social Workers in this area, the Manitoba College of Social Workers has adopted the newly released 2017 Standards for Technology in Social Work Practice.  Members are encouraged to become familiar with these standards as a reference for their professional practice and conduct.

Download the 2017 Standards for Technology in Social Work Practice

Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) Information for Social Workers

Federal legislation (Bill C-14) governing Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) came into effect in June 2016. The Manitoba College of Social Workers has developed a reference document for Social Workers related to MAID in response to this legislative change.

MAID Information Summary

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Code of Ethics

Ethical behaviour is at the core of every profession. The Manitoba College of Social Workers has adopted the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) Social Work Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Ethical Practice, which consists of 6 core values:

  1. Respect for the Inherent Dignity and Worth of Persons
  2. Pursuit of Social Justice
  3. Service to Humanity
  4. Integrity of Professional Practice
  5. Confidentiality in Professional Practice
  6. Competence in Professional Practice

MCSW Code of Ethics

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Practicing/Non-Practicing

Practicing Social Worker

All those engaged in the practice of social work as a Social Worker in the province of Manitoba as a paid staff, unpaid staff, under contract, a volunteer or in any other capacity (full-time, part-time, casual) must be registered with the Manitoba College of Social Workers. The practice of social work is defined in The Social Work Profession Act as:
the application of social work knowledge, skills, values and practice methods in a person-in-environment context, with the following objectives:

  1. to accomplish the core functions of social work, including
    helping people obtain services relating to their basic human needs,
    counseling of individuals, families and groups, and
    helping communities and groups provide or improve social and health services
  2. to assess, remediate and prevent social problems encountered by individuals, families and communities;
  3. to enhance individual, family and community social functioning

The scope of practice for Social Workers includes:

Case management Group therapy
Psychosocial assessments & interventions Cultural & spiritual counseling
General counseling Community development & organization
Psychotherapy Child protective services
Relationship counseling Structural social work practice
Child & adolescent therapy Social justice & client advocacy
Family therapy Clinical outcome evaluation
Program planning & development Clinical supervision
Program management Administrative supervision
Program evaluation Consultative services
Policy research & development Social work education
Research Private practice

If you are engaged in activities outlined in the social work scope of practice as a Social Worker, you must be registered in the practicing category.

Non-Practicing Designation

Non-practicing designation is available to eligible applicants who are not currently engaged in the practice of social work in Manitoba as a paid staff, unpaid staff, under contract, a volunteer, or in any other capacity.

Eligibility:

Eligibility for application for non-practicing designation may include:

  • Retirement
  • Unemployment
    • Not employed by any employer and not self-employed
  • Leave of absence
    • Parental or other
  • Long-term disability
  • Residing in another jurisdiction

Social Workers registered under Section 11 of The Social Work Profession Act (grandparenting provision) are generally required to maintain registration in the Practicing category.  Exceptions include approved leaves of absence such as parental/sick leaves.

Application Criteria:

A registrant may be granted non-practicing designation where he/she has provided an approved application for the Non-Practicing designation, including a signed declaration that he or she:

  1. will not use the titles “social worker”, “registered social worker” or use the designation “R.S.W.”; and
  2. will not practice social work while in the Non-Practicing category; and
  3. will return their current Certificate of Practice, if applicable; and
  4. will pay the Non-Practicing Category fees

Non-practicing category fees will be applied following approval of applications. Category changes will not be back dated.  Members are encouraged to apply immediately upon eligibility for the non-practicing category.

Download the Non-Practicing Application

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Professional Liability Insurance

The Social Work Profession Act (the SWPA) requires that every practicing registrant who holds a Certificate of Practice must be covered by, and maintain, professional liability insurance coverage.

Regulation 22 of the SWPA states:

A member who holds a certificate of practice must (a) be covered by professional liability insurance in an amount required by the College; and (b) promptly notify the registrar if he or she is no longer covered by the required professional liability insurance.

If employed with more than one organization (including private practice), MCSW Practicing registrants must be covered by professional liability insurance at each place of employment.

Registered Social Workers can obtain Professional Liability Insurance in several ways:

  1. In many cases, employers carry liability insurance for their Social Work staff, particularly in government and large institutions. Please check with your employer before purchasing liability insurance.
  2. The Manitoba College of Social Workers is part of a national Professional Liability Insurance program, offered through the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW). As members of both the provincial and national organizations, individual MCSW members have the option of purchasing liability insurance through CASW.
  3. Members can also choose to purchase professional liability insurance from an insurance provider of their choice.

The MCSW Board of Directors has set the required minimum value of insurance at $2,000,000.

All MCSW members are required to abide by the administrative policies, bylaws and regulations of the College, including the requirement to provide the Professional Liability Insurance Declaration Form upon application. The registrar may cancel a Certificate of Practice for failure to meet the renewal requirements (MCSW bylaw 5-1, 5-4.4).

If necessary, the College will provide the member with written notice of their failure to meet renewal requirements (which includes verification of Professional Liability Insurance). A copy of the cancellation notification must also be sent by registered mail to the member’s employer as shown on the records of the College (MCSW bylaw 5-4.4).

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Register of Social Workers

There are several routes of entry to become a Registered Social Worker in Manitoba, which include:

ACCREDITED: This route is appropriate for applicants who have graduated from a Canadian university Social Work degree program which has been accredited by the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE). If you have a Bachelor of Social Work degree, a Master of Social Work degree, or a Doctorate degree in Social Work from an accredited Canadian University, you will apply as an APPLICANT WITH A SOCIAL WORK DEGREE.

APPROVED: This route is appropriate for applicants who have graduated from a Manitoba-based Social Work education program that is not accredited by CASWE but is approved by the College Board. If you are a graduate from the Booth University College Social Work Program, you will apply as an APPLICANT WITH A SOCIAL WORK DEGREE.

Other applicants eligible for the Approved route of entry are graduates from a Social Work degree program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the American Social Work accrediting body. If you have a Social Work degree from an accredited CSWE Program, you will apply as an APPLICANT WITH A SOCIAL WORK DEGREE.

GRANDPARENTED: The Manitoba College of Social Workers has established a “grandparenting” process that recognizes practitioners without formal social work education who are currently functioning as social workers as their principal occupation. These applicants must provide evidence, including employer verification, that they have functioned as a Social Worker safely, competently and ethically for at least 4400 hours in the previous 5 years. The grandparenting route of entry is available to eligible applicants until March 31, 2018. If you wish to apply through this route of entry, you will apply as an APPLICANT WITHOUT A SOCIAL WORK DEGREE.

INTERNATIONAL: Applicants who have completed an international social work education program must complete the International Assessment of Credentials process through the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) prior to applying for registration with the College. Following approval of credentials, you will apply as an APPLICANT WITH A SOCIAL WORK DEGREE.

Registration Categories

The Social Worker register contains three categories of Social Workers:

  • Practicing Social Workers: This category is appropriate for registrants who are currently functioning in a Social Work capacity and/or refer to themselves as “Social Workers” or “Registered Social Workers.”
  • Non-practicing Registrants: This category includes Social Workers on Parental Leaves, Leaves of Absence, retired Social Workers or those residing in another jurisdiction. Members in this category cannot refer to themselves either verbally or in writing as “Registered Social Workers”, “Social Workers” or use the designation “RSW”, but rather must use the term “non-practicing registrant” or “non-practicing social worker” to describe their status while in this category.
  • Temporary Social Workers: Temporary registration is available to those who are registered as a practicing Social Worker in another jurisdiction who wish to temporarily practice in Manitoba or with clients from Manitoba. Temporary registration is limited to a period not exceeding 90 days per registration year.

Use of Legal Name: Each member must use the legal name under which he or she is registered under the Act when the member represents that he or she is a member of the College and/or engages in the practice of social work.  The College may consider accommodations in exceptional circumstances, such as safety concerns, which are assessed on a case by case basis.

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Social Workers

About Registration:

I’m retiring this year. Is there a retirement category with a reduced fee?
The College does not have a “retirement” category, however you may consider transferring to the Non-Practicing category of registration if you no longer plan to practice or represent yourself as a Social Worker. The annual fee in this category is $180.

I’m not working full-time. Can you decrease or defer the fees?
No. The cost of regulating a member of the College is not based on hours worked. If you are leaving the practice of Social Work, you may consider transferring to the Non-Practicing category.

I’m going on parental leave. Is there a reduced fee?
Yes, you may transfer to the Non-Practicing category and the fee is $180 per year. Please contact the College for information on transferring to the Non-Practicing category.

I’m moving to another country. Can I maintain my registration?
Yes, you can; however, you may consider transferring to the Non-Practicing category of registration with its lower annual fee.

Do you offer professional liability insurance to members?
Under The Social Work Profession Act, all Social Workers who hold a Certificate of Practice must have professional liability insurance. In some cases, employers will already have professional liability insurance for their employees. If your employer does not provide professional liability insurance for its Social Workers, you can purchase it through the College’s affiliation with a national program offered by CASW. However, College members may access insurance from any insurance provider of their choice.

My registration was cancelled because I did not renew by March 1st. What is the process to become registered again?
Annual registration fees are due each year before March 1st. A $50 fee will be applied in the event of returned/NSF cheques. A fee of $75 will be applied in the event of late payment of fees until March 31. If fees are not paid by March 31, a reinstatement fee will apply of $150.

What if I don’t need to be registered any longer?
Certificates of Registration are the property of the Manitoba College of Social Workers and should be returned if the Social Worker is no longer registered. Individuals who are not registered with the College cannot represent themselves as Social Workers.

What if I resign but want to become a member again in future?
Should you wish to return to practice as a Social Worker, you will be required to re-apply, and meet the requirements for registration at that time. If you have been registered on the basis of the “grandparenting” provision of The Social Work Profession Act, remember that Section 11 will no longer be applicable after March 31, 2018.

About Complaints:

A client has complained about my practice. What do I do?
If you, as a Social Worker registered with the College, are the subject of a complaint, the Manitoba College of Social Workers recommends that you cooperate fully with the investigation process. Please provide all of the information requested in a timely fashion. There will be a deadline, from the time you are notified in writing of the complaint, for your initial response to be received by the College. Time extensions can be provided in exceptional circumstances. Failure to respond to the complaint in writing within the time required is, in and of itself, an act of unprofessional conduct.

Duty to Report

I am concerned about a Social Work colleague’s practice. What should I do?
The Social Work Profession Act requires Social Workers to report any concerns about unethical or incompetent conduct by another Social Worker to the Manitoba College of Social Workers.  Section 73 (1) of the Act also states: A member who believes that another member is suffering from a physical or mental condition or disorder of a nature or to an extent that

  • the member is unfit to continue to practice; or
  • (b) the member’s practice should be restricted;

must inform the registrar of that belief and the reasons for it.

Section 73(2) of the Act states: A member who discloses information under subsection (1) is not subject to any liability as a result, unless it is established that the disclosure was made maliciously.

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Social Work Corporations

This register is for individuals in private practice who wish to incorporate their practice. A corporation whose name contains the words “social worker”, “social workers”, “registered social worker”, or “registered social workers”, or the initials “S.W.” or “R.S.W.” must not carry on any business in the province of Manitoba unless it holds a valid permit with the College.

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Fee Information

Manitoba College of Social Workers Fee Schedule

Application fees (non-refundable)

Social Worker $100
Social Work Corporation $100

Annual fees

Each registrant must pay to the College an annual fee due on March 1st of each year, in the following amounts:

Social Worker (Practicing) $360
New Graduate (Practicing) $240
*Social Worker (temporary) $30/mo (effective the 1st day of each month) $30/mth
Non-Practicing Member $180
Social Work Student $20
Social Work Corporation $360

*for those who are registered as practicing social workers in another jurisdiction who wish to temporarily practice in Manitoba

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Fee Payment Policy

Transferring between Categories

Members of the College who transfer between the Practicing and Non-Practicing categories during a registration year, will be required to pay the pro-rated monthly fees in each category. Any month in which a registrant has practiced, will be considered a month in which the Practicing fees shall apply.

NSF Cheques

A $50 fee will be applied in the event of returned/NSF cheques.

Late Payment of Fees

Full payment of fees are due March 1st of each year. Fees received between March 2nd and March 31st will be subject to an administrative late fee of $75 (including post-dated cheques after March 1st).

Cancellation

If fees are not received in full by March 31st registration will be cancelled.

Reinstatement

Former registrants may apply for reinstatement within 3 months of cancellation. The reinstatement fee of $150 is in addition to the annual registration fee.

Refunds

There are no refunds for application or registration fees.

In accordance with subsection 5-2.2 of the MCSW by-law, the board and/or the registrar may at its discretion waive or reduce any fee or assessment payable by an applicant, member or student.

 

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Benefits of Membership

Becoming a Social Worker Registered with the Manitoba College of Social Workers

Registration with the Manitoba College of Social Workers is a professional and legal responsibility for Social Workers as outlined in The Social Work Profession Act. Only those individuals registered with the Manitoba College of Social Workers have the legal right to use the title “Social Worker”, “Registered Social Worker” and/or represent themselves as Social Workers in Manitoba. Registered Social Workers are recognized as ethical and competent professionals who practice within recognized practice standards and who value public accountability.

Additional benefits to registration include:

  • Access to professional development opportunities geared specifically to Social Workers
  • Membership in provincial, national and international social work organizations that:
    • support professional regulation
    • promote the profession of social work
    • advocate for social justice
  • Professional Networking
    • registered Social Workers can expand their collegial networks through participation in the organization. Membership in MCSW offers a number of ways to develop your leadership skills and to network with Social Work colleagues.
  • Opportunities to honour excellence in Social Work
    • in March of each year, Social Workers throughout Manitoba celebrate National Social Work Week in recognition of the contributions of Social Workers to society. Nationally, the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) also celebrates Social Work Month every March.
    • the CASW Distinguished Service Award (MB) is granted to an MCSW member or group of members who has made a significant contribution to the profession of Social Work. The recipient(s) of the Distinguished Service Award is usually honoured during Social Work Week, which takes place in March of each year.
  • Access to Professional Liability Insurance Program

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