CASW Represents Canadian Professional Social Workers

Building Together

Founded in 1926 to monitor employment conditions and to establish standards of practice within the profession, the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) has evolved into a national voice. The CASW Federation is comprised of 10 provincial and territorial partner organizations. 

The CASW Board of Directors determines and oversees general and financial policies. With each provincial/territorial partner organization appointing one member to the Board, a unified voice for the Canadian social work profession is assured.  The Board of Directors works from a national and, indeed, an international perspective to benefit the social work profession.

Provincial/territorial input into the deliberations of CASW is guaranteed through an Annual General Meeting between the CASW Board and Provincial/Territorial Presidents.

Mission Statement

CASW promotes the profession of social work in Canada and advances social justice.

Adopted October 2014

CASW Ends or Directions

(Adopted by the CASW Board June 2019)

CASW exists so that the social work profession is respected as a unique, diverse, and credible profession, in Canada and Internationally.

1. There is a clear understanding of the profession of social work in Canada.

2. The profession of social work has a strong impact on:

    a.) Social policy: policy makers are given tools and opportunities to understand social work’s values and

         perspectives in the development of future policy.

    b.) Social services: social services support the needs and social determinants of health of all those who live in


    c.) Social justice: all those who live in Canada are given tools and opportunities to understand social work’s

         values and perspectives.

3. Social workers have access to a broad base of information and tools to enhance:

     a.) their knowledge, practice, and well-being.

     b.) individual and collective journeys of reconciliation.

All three ends or directions are held to be of equal priority.

Speaking Nationally

On a national level, CASW has adopted a pro-active approach to issues pertinent to social policy/social work. It produces and distributes timely information for its members, and special projects are initiated and sponsored.

CASW representatives serve on coalitions and participate on a host of affiliated, nationwide committees on a continuing basis.  As well, they provide consultation with government, other professional and non-governmental groups and, of course, the general public.

To preserve the highest degree of excellence within the profession, CASW provides assessment of academic qualifications of non-North American social workers who wish to practise in Canada.

Speaking Internationally

CASW is active in the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), providing leadership within the IFSW Executive as well as within the North American Region. The expertise of CASW in social policy, its concern for social justice and its continued role in social advocacy is recognized and called upon by IFSW.

Encouraging Participation

By joining the appropriate provincial /territorial social workers’ organizations, social workers automatically become affiliated with the Canadian Association of Social Workers. Because of its broad-based membership, CASW is able to offer the benefits and advantages associated with a professional organization, such as insurance packages that include professional liability insurance, group life, disability, and a retirement plan.

In June 2011, CASW adopted individual membership categories in order to maintain a viable national voice. Individual memberships are being offered only to regions of Canada that do not have Partner Organizations (Québec). CASW individual memberships will be subject to, and come into force upon final approval of CASW Bylaws by Industry Canada.

Publishing, Producing, Distributing

The Code of Ethics, national policy and position papers, research projects, reports and selected books are also produced by CASW.  CASW also acts as a clearinghouse for its member organizations, providing information related to social work policy and practice.

Click here to view our Strategic Plan

CASW Social Policy, Position Statements & Issue Response

All CASW Social Policy, Position Statements and Issue Responses are grounded in CASW Social Policy Principles.

The process behind developing CASW Social Policy, Position Statements and Issue Responses are grounded in the foundational documents of the federation. CASW Bylaws and adopted Policy-Governance define roles, responsibilities and the limitations of the differing yet equally valued roles in developing CASW Social Policy, Position Statements and Issue Responses.

CASW Policy-Governance is also clear that CASW Social Policy, Position Statements and Issue Responses must be congruent with the Mission of CASW and the Strategic Directions adopted by the CASW Board.

The CASW Social Policy Principles are used by the CASW to guide evaluation of federal social policy initiatives. The social policy principles are identified with a statement that indicates implications for practice.

For document in full, see attachments.