Many group health insurers will reimburse the services of Registered Social Workers if the employer requests it. 

Including social work in benefit plans increases the number of eligible mental health providers that members can access. There are more than 200 Registered Social Workers in private practice in Nova Scotia, and many of these private practitioners offer skilled professional counselling for personal, family, and work-related problems. This counselling is GST/HST exempt, and can be claimed as a medical expense.

Expanding provider choice can be especially vital in rural areas where other mental health professionals might be unavailable, or when seeking a service provider with a specific specialization or area of competence (e.g. culturally-sensitive, 2SLGBTQ-informed, language fluency). Getting the right care to people where they are and when they need it contributes to the collective well-being of the entire community.

If your health insurance plan does not cover social work services, consider contacting your union, human resources department, board or manager to ask if this can be changed. Let them know that coverage for social work therapy and counselling makes good business sense. Including social work services in benefit plans increases an organization’s capacity to meet the needs of employees and their families; the effort or cost required is usually very low, and the potential rewards are high.


The Canadian Association of Social Workers offers a pamphlet that you can use to inform decision-makers at your organization about the potential benefits of coverage for social work services.

Download the PDF here: Adding further value to employee benefit plans

Recommended rate

NSCSW has set the recommended fee for private practice masters-level and PhD social workers registered with the College at a minimum rate of $160.00 per session.

Individual practitioners will always retain the autonomy to set and adjust their fees. The recommended rate is provided as a guideline to inform clients of what they can expect to pay for social work services in a private practice setting. This rate is also set to assist third‐party payers (i.e insurers, government, and private business) so they can make informed decisions when adjusting their reimbursement rates for their services. 

This recommended fee is based on a comparison of other mental health professionals in Nova Scotia providing counselling and mental health services. Please note that there may be fee variations taking into consideration: geographical location, practice specialization, nature of the service provided and number of people involved in each session. Fees for specialized services may be higher than the recommended rate.