Fred Phelps was born and raised in Battleford, Saskatchewan. From a young age he demonstrated a desire to affect change and did so by following his family footsteps in being actively engaged in the National Farmers Union movement and local politics. Shortly after his secondary graduation, Fred had the opportunity to travel with international cross-cultural organization Up with People for a number of years both as a student and staff member. These experiences afforded Fred with tremendous opportunities to travel around the world promoting the values of community and understanding.
After a few years of international travel, Fred settled on Vancouver Island to begin his social work education at Malaspina University College (Vancouver Island University). While living and attending school in Nanaimo, Fred had the opportunity to lead the Ladysmith Youth Centre and coordinate summer services for children and youth.
Fred moved away from Vancouver Island to finish his social work degree at University College of the Caribou (Thompson Rivers University); completing practicums with the Simpcw First Nation (Social Development) and the Forensic Psychiatric Services Commission. Upon his Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) graduation, Fred resumed his summer work posting in North Battleford, Saskatchewan as a Child Protection Worker. From Child Protection, Fred moved into the political arena accepting a Ministerial Assistant position to the Minister of Government Relations at the Legislative Assembly in Regina, Saskatchewan. After a few years in this role, Fred took a year leave of absence to complete his Master of Social Work at Carleton University in Ottawa. Fred returned to Saskatchewan assuming the position of Chief of Staff to the Minister of Culture, Youth and Recreation.
After leaving positions of direct policy development and political involvement, Fred completed a short tenure at the Ranch Ehrlo Society in Regina as a Clinical Case Worker. In 2009, Fred and his wife Zara Canteenwalla decided it was time to head back east and settled in Ottawa. Fred again moved into the political realm working as a Legislative and Communications Assistant to the Member of Parliament from Welland, Ontario.
In 2009, Fred began working for the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) in the role of Social Worker. Fred assumed the role of CASW Executive Director on August 1, 2011. He is thankful for the opportunity to apply his direct social work, international relations and government experience to the role. He is proud to call himself a social worker and proud to be in a position to promote and strengthen the profession.