Canadian Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics

The Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) Code of Ethics provides a consistent set of values, principles and standards of conduct for all social workers across Canada. It gives social workers the guidance and confidence to handle the uncertainties and challenges that come up while providing services. Social workers can use the Code of Ethics to make informed and appropriate decisions in the complex situations they encounter in the line of work.

The CASW Code of Ethics is currently being updated using the 10 principles established by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) as a guide to reflect new developments and practices in t he field. It is anticipated that the updated CASW Code of Ethics will be available in 2024.

The updated Code of Ethics will uphold the following six key values, which are each accompanied by a set of principles:

  1. Respect for the inherent dignity and worth of persons
  2. Pursuit of social justice
  3. Service to humanity
  4. Integrity in professional practice
  5. Confidentiality in professional practice
  6. Competence in professional practice

Please click here to read the current CASW Code of Ethics.

Please click here to read the CASW Guidelines for Ethical Practice.


CASW Scope of Practice Statement

Social work is a practice-based profession and academic discipline founded on theories of social work, social science, and humanities. It is advanced through an evidence informed approach and recognizes the importance of Indigenous ways of knowing in practice, the development of knowledge, and education, clinical services, policy, and research. Social work focuses on the person within their environment and recognizes the importance of family, community, culture, legal, social, spiritual, and economic influences that impact the well-being of individuals, families, groups, and communities. Social work applies a strengths-based perspective and views individual, families, and communities as resourceful, resilient, and having capacity. Principles of respect for the inherent dignity and worth of persons, the pursuit of social justice, and culturally responsive practice that applies an anti-oppressive lens to all areas of practice and is grounded in ethics, values, and humility, are central to social work.


Social work practice responds to needs of individuals, families, groups, and communities and addresses barriers and injustices in organizations and society. Social work focuses on improving health and social well-being using the social determinants of health framework when delivering services, navigating systems, and advocating for equitable access to and improvement of the multiple dimensions that impact health and well-being. Social work engages people and communities to address life challenges and traumatic events, to create change, and build resiliency. Social work also collaborates with other professionals, communities, and organizations to provide services, improve conditions, and create opportunities for growth, recovery, and personal development.


Individual competency is developed through education, training, continuous professional development, supervision, and a self-reflective approach to practice that bolsters learning from experience. Social work practice includes but is not limited to the roles outlined below. The appendix that follows provides specific roles related to the general descriptions.

  • The delivery of clinical services provided either face-to-face or with electronic means, within the context of a helping relationship including assessment, diagnosis, case management, counselling, therapy, consultation, crisis intervention, treatment, group services, and programs, social support, and referral services.
  • Advocacy activities to address barriers and inequities that exist in organizations and society, and to uphold human rights and social justice including support for Indigenous populations based on the Indigenous community’s identified needs
  • The delivery of services and interventions that support community development and enrich individual, family, and collective well-being.
  • Supervision to a social worker, social work student or other supervisee.
  • The development, promotion, management, administration, delivery, and evaluation of services and programs, including those done in collaboration with other professionals.
  • The management, leadership and administration of an organization and oversight of services, programs, and interventions provided by social workers or another supervisee.
  • The development, promotion, implementation, and evaluation of social policies aimed at improving social conditions and equality for individuals, families, groups, and communities, and social policies that promote social justice.
  • Education, training, and professional development regarding the practice of social work.
  • Research and evaluation to reflect on social work practice, to develop social policy, and to implement research informed findings into practice, including research that engages those using social work services and research done in collaboration with other professionals.  

Adopted June 2020


Click here to read the CASW Scope of Practice Statement, including the Appendix: Roles and Responsibilities within Social Work Scope of Practice