Ottawa, ON – August 8, 2022 – The Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) has long advocated for social workers to be included as mental health practitioners within the Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP) and enthusiastically applauds yesterday’s announcement that a new tentative agreement has been reached to update the PSHCP to permanently include social workers.
In early 2020, in response to the pandemic, the Government of Canada (GoC) announced temporary changes to the PSHCP to include Registered Social Workers (RSWs) as mental health practitioners. The new tentative agreement permanently includes RSWs as psychological providers and increases the maximum eligible amounts from $2000 to $5000.
“In recognizing eligible RSWs as mental health practitioners within the PSHCP, the Government of Canada, PSHCP Partners Committee and the National Joint Council have affirmed the immense historical oversight of withholding access to professional mental health services by excluding social workers from coverage for Public Servants prior to the COVID 19 pandemic," said CASW President, Joan Davis-Whelan.
The new tentative agreement, which falls outside of collective bargaining, is being presented to the Treasury Board soon for ratification. When ratified, these long-awaited benefit improvements will take effect on July 1, 2023.
“Expanding psychological providers and increasing the maximum eligible amount to $5000 makes the PSHCP a leader in mental health and will have resounding positive impacts on the wellbeing of public servants and their families,” said Davis-Whelan. "We look forward to the Treasury Board's timely ratification of this agreement and expect this change will set a new precedent in both the public and private spheres in terms of mental health coverage."
For more information
Fred Phelps, MSW, RSW – CASW Executive Director