Social service worker week

The association recognizes that the profession of social service work, deserves a week to honour the contributions of social service workers, in Ontario and across Canada. In 2021, the association-initiated conversations with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW) and the Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW). These conversations consisted of exploring the initiation of a social service worker week in the province of Ontario. The association is pleased to announce that social service worker week will have its first inaugural recognition week in 2022. This week will occur on the second week of March, annually. The week will be sponsored by the Ontario Social Service Worker Association (OSSWA). The association is currently working further to initiate conversations with the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. The initial stages of exploration of social service worker week by way of an Act to proclaim Social Service Worker Week is being explored by the association. The association is also exploring this model in other provinces or territories, in which social service workers practice (regulated and non-regulated).

Awards

The association recognizes the profession of social service work must be innovative and find ways to recognize the contributions, achievements, and practice of social service workers. The association will initiate a tiered award system to recognize, on an annual basis: social service workers, social service work preceptors, social service work students and social service work faculty members (faculty members nominated must be either one or both a registered social worker and/or registered social service worker). The association awards will be issued for social service workers by the regional coordinators, while awards issued for preceptors and students will be issued in collaboration with faculty ambassadors and regional coordinators, on behalf of the association. The names of such individuals which receive their respective awards will be inscribed permanently by the registrar and/or deputy registrar on the associations record.

Social service worker salary

The association recognizes the profession of social service work requires a minimal threshold compensation recommendation for social service workers employed in the community services sector. The Government of Canada job bank, outlines the average salary for social service workers in community services, range from the lowest end, $16.00 per hour or ($30,080) per year, to the higher end of $32.12 per hour or ($60,386) per year in Ontario as of 2021. To note, many public service positions (government) pay more than these posted numbers. The average median salary of social service workers in Ontario was approximately $22.57 per hour or ($42,432) per year in 2021.

The associations position is that every person deserves an income that is fair, equitable, competitive, and meets the individuals overall needs, in the context of their local economy. Social service workers are highly trained, college-educated, regulated and provide critical social services to a variety of vulnerable people and communities, regardless of sector. The association recognizes, in the community services sector, funding is and will always be a challenge. The Market Basket Measure (MBM) in conjunction with the job bank data, from the Government of Canada, was utilized to formulate the associations position, on a minimum social service worker compensation threshold for the community services sector. Employers should consider the nature of work, environment of work and what is considered competitive, in their local economy, when formulating compensation. Employers are additionally encouraged to be transparent in posting their entire wage scale, in their position advertisements.

  • Small sized communities in Ontario 2021 or populations centres under 99,999 people, community service employers are recommended to compensate social service workers (entry-level graduates) at the minimum rate of $22.57 per hour or ($42,432) per year based upon a 40-hour work week. Compensation should increasingly scale upwards based upon inflation rates and also based upon performance and experience. *compensation in some small sized communities, may need to shift to correlate to the overall expenses of housing, nutrition, child care etc. as these overall expenses may be more than medium, or large communities. This is especially true in remote communities.
  • Medium sized communities in Ontario 2021 or population centres from 100,000 to 500,000 people, community service employers are recommended to compensate social service workers (entry-level graduates) at the minimum rate of $23.94 per hour or ($45,000) per year based upon a 40-hour work week. Compensation should increasingly scale upwards based upon inflation rates and also based upon performance and experience.
  • Large sized communities in Ontario 2021 or population centres over 500,000, community service employers are recommended to compensate social service workers (entry-level graduates) at the minimum rate of $26.00 per hour or ($50,000) per year based upon a 40-hour work week. Compensation should increasingly scale upwards based upon inflation rates and also based upon performance and experience.

The professions branding

The association recognizes the profession of social service work is difficult to discern from the profession of social work. The demarcation between the two professions, is sometimes apparent, and at other times, not. The association works to unify the social service work profession in Ontario and across Canada, with one voice. The association recognizes a branding strategy is needed to market the social service work profession in effort for the public to recognize it more readily. The association further recognizes the professional title, although protected by law in Ontario, is not universal across Canada. The association recognizes there is a need to strengthen the title, as the official and single professional title of the profession. The association advocates for title protection in provinces and territories where the profession is currently non-regulated.