- Working as a Social Worker in Canada
- Before You Come to Canada
- Preparing to Work as a Social Worker
- Finding a Job in Canada
- Additional Resources
Canada’s social work sector is a lively and dynamic field. Social workers work in a variety of settings. Their primary concern is the well-being of all people, with attention to their physical, mental and spiritual needs. They are usually employed in hospitals, community health centres, mental health clinics, schools, advocacy organizations, government departments, social service agencies, child welfare settings, family service agencies, correctional facilities, social housing organizations, family courts, employee assistance programs and private counselling, school boards and consultation agencies.
There are many important things that you can do to improve your chances of success before you come to Canada.
The FCRO of the Government of Canada provides you with helpful resources such as the Planning to Work in Canada? workbook. Use these resources to find important information and to develop your job-search plan.
Language skills are important for a successful career in Canada. You will need to prove your skills in English or French. This may require that you be assessed. If you need to improve your language skills, start before you come to Canada.
After you arrive in Canada, find immigrant services in your area including language training, job-search help and, in some cases, job placements.
Your official education, work and identity documents are also important. It is much easier for you to gather your documents while still in your home country. Refer to the “Internationally Educated Social Workers” section of the CASW website for specific information related to the required documents for the social work profession in Canada.
If your documents are neither in English nor in French, you will need to have them translated. Verify which documents and translation services are required for your occupation.
In Canada, regulated occupations such as social work require a professional licence. Regulated professionals are expected to complete several years of university or college education, acquire practical experience in their chosen profession and have successfully completed a licensure.
Each province or territory is typically responsible for setting the requirements for regulated occupations. You should verify the regulatory requirements with the province or territory in which you plan to live. The Working in Canada tool can help you identify the correct regulatory body or accreditation board to contact for more information.
The level of education required for a career in social work varies with the type of work and the work setting. In most provinces, the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) is the minimum educational requirement for entry into the profession.
You will need to get your credentials assessed after your arrival in Canada. Click on the “Internationally Educated Social Workers” section of the CASWwebsite and download the application kit, or you can request that an application package be sent to you. The application forms require details of your academic background. Please make sure you have all the necessary documents as these will be easier to obtain while you are still in your home country. Please refer to the “Internationally Educated Social Workers” section of the CASW website for a complete list of the required documents.
This assessment is accepted in all the provinces and territories except British Columbia and Quebec, which have their own assessments. Be sure to confirm the specific requirements in your province or territory by contacting the appropriate social work association. A list of associations and regulatory bodies can be found on the CASW website.Note that education received through distance learning or self-study is not accepted by the CASW and certificates or diplomas obtained in this format will not be recognized.
You should take the time to research job openings and develop a plan for finding work as a social worker in Canada.
Employment opportunities and earnings may vary from province to province. Be sure to contact the individual provincial or territorial social work organizations for job-related information.
The CASW does not actively track Canadian social work employment trends or maintain a list of social work job openings in Canada. There are a number of Web-based resources that are helpful in exploring social work employment trends and opportunities in Canada. The following is a list of useful websites that you can visit to find employment in your field.
- Working in Canada tool
- Government of Canada job site
- Canada’s supersite for the not-for-profit sector
There are also a number of popular job-search websites that may post social work positions. Be proactive in looking for other sources of job-related information.