Join our team: Administrative Support

Position Summary

The Administrative Assistant acts as the front-line point of contact for the office and is accountable for supporting the overall general administrative operations of the office in support of the goals, objectives, vision and mission of the NSCSW. The Administrative Assistant is the primary administrative and logistical support to all staff in the office, and to NSCSW Council and committees.

Employment Equity 

NSCSW is committed to the value of equity and strives to create an organization that represents the intersectional identities of Nova Scotians. Applicants from groups who have historically faced barriers to employment are encouraged to self-identify in their application.

Compensation 

  • Salary range: $35,961 – $44,951
  • This is a full-time, permanent position
  • The NSCSW offers a defined pension plan through the NSHEPP.
  • The NSCSW offers competitive extended health benefits.

Job Accountabilities 

Office Administrative Support 

  • Provides reception services by serving as the initial contact and resource person for the office. Assesses incoming requests to determine appropriate response, or to re-direct inquires to the appropriate staff person. Ensures staff are made aware of issues requiring their attention. 
  • Reviews and responds to all incoming correspondence and inquiries, and re-directs correspondence and inquiries as appropriate. 
  • Works with NSCSW staff to provide them with administrative and logistical support including such duties as photocopying, arranging meetings, logistics, and providing communication support for phone and video calls etc. 
  • Provides general database support to members such as resetting passwords, unlocking accounts, etc.
  • Provides input and prepares new or revised forms and documents to improve the general operations of the office and customer service to the members. 

Administrative Assistant to Council and Committees

  • Arranges and provides logistical and administrative support to Council. 
  • This includes duties such as photocopying, ensuring accuracy and completeness of agendas, minute-taking, organizing council packages, booking meeting space and accommodations, and ordering catering for Council meetings.

General Office Management          

  • Responsible for maintaining all operating office files (excluding memberships) in an orderly manner, including ensuring budget statements, bank statements and invoices are filed chronologically. 
  • Coordinates and implements an effective and efficient file system. Evaluates file-storage, and related policy and procedures, and is accountable to maintain internal servers. 
  • Coordinates and facilitates general office services such as: telephone systems and support, office equipment maintenance, credit card machine, and orders office and housekeeping supplies, etc.
  • Assists with the development and coordination of IT and video related services for the College by assessing IT infrastructure needs and facilitating IT/Telecommunications contracts.
  • Ensures appropriate maintenance of the office space, computer technology, and any other office equipment.
  • Ensures rental payment of office space is delivered to landlord on a monthly basis. 
  • Maintains inventory of office supplies; placing orders and verifying receipt of order.
  • Responsible for petty cash.

Bookkeeping

  • Receives and codes invoices for payment for the Executive Director’s review and approval; forwards invoices to the Colleges’ bookkeeper to issue cheques; reviews payment/cheque produced with Executive Director/Register for final approval and is accountable to mail out payment as appropriate.
  • Prepares bank deposits and delivery to the bank.
  • Timely filing (both electronic and hard copy).

Other Duties

  • Performs other duties as assigned by the Executive Director/Registrar; keeps the Executive Director/Registrar informed of issues of concern on a timely basis. 

Knowledge/Experience

  • Minimum high school diploma and recognized secretarial or office administration diploma.
  • Minimum three years of related administrative experience. 
  • Advanced knowledge of computer programs MS operating systems, Zoom, Office 365.
  • Knowledge of effective administrative procedures, office equipment, report generation and database systems.
  • Experience working in a confidential environment that has demanding periods.

Competencies

  • The individual must possess excellent interpersonal skills and customer service. 
  • Expected to use professional judgement and professional attitude in all dealings with College members, the public, Board and Council members and office staff. 
  • Must be a strong communicator.  
  • Must have strong organizational skills by effectively determining day-to-day priorities and uses judgement to ensure tasks for are organized. 
  • Must be flexible in creating and suggesting alternative solutions to meet goals.
  • Must be flexible with ongoing challenges and changes.  
  • Understanding of confidentiality in professional and legislated context is required.
  • The capacity to work independently and provide solid judgment to the responsibilities of the role is required.
  • Proficient at minute taking. 

Qualities 

  • Professional
  • Team and customer focused
  • Collaborative
  • Can-do/positive attitude 
  • Solid problem solving skills
  • Ability to work independently
  • Hard working
  • Detail orientated 
  • Confidential 
  • Initiative
  • Ability to multi-task and prioritize
  • Works well under pressure

Application

Applicants should send a resume and cover letter to Alec Stratford, Executive Director/ Registrar at Alec.Stratford@NSCSW.org by January 18, 2022, at 4:30 p.m.

PANEL — Advocating for Human Rights for Individuals with Disabilities

Open letter: Time for robust social infrastructure investments that supports public health

December 24, 2021 

The Honourable Tim Houston
Premier of Nova Scotia 
One Government Place
1713 Barrington St.
Halifax, NS 
B3J 2A4 

Sent Via Email: PREMIER@novascotia.ca

Dear Premier Houston,

As our province enters yet another wave of this pandemic, Nova Scotians tuned in to listen to a briefing from both you and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Strang. You both spoke extensively about the mental anguish and distress brought on by this virus and by emergency restrictions, which you described as “torture,” and you and Dr. Strang warned that the anxiety and mental health consequences are only going to get worse. However, while the message delivered by yourself and other leaders is that “we are all in this together,” the public policy being utilized tells a much different story. 

The message being heard is: “you are on your own.” 

The resulting stress upon the province’s workforce is felt, and both Dr. Strang and yourself warned that it will likely be exacerbated by the growing numbers of individuals who have been exposed over the last few weeks. The potential risks to the province’s fragile infrastructure, including the health care system, are significant.

Such sobering news can certainly intensify the anxiety felt by Nova Scotians considering a new set of restrictions during a time of year that holds profound emotional power for many. Furthermore, we must now prepare again to face the financial burden of restrictions, as many will lose hours of work and wages, this time with only limited financial supports of federal COVID-19 wage programs. This will certainly deepen the effects of the shadow pandemics afflicting far too many of us: domestic violence, loneliness, homelessness, mental health. 

In 2020, as the pandemic ramped up and restrictions tightened, municipal police departments across Nova Scotia responded to about 20 per cent more crisis calls overall. This has been coupled with increased rates of substance use, particularly among women with kids under the age of 13. Then of course the burden of COVID-19 itself, which has demonstrated that the vulnerabilities of our health care system affect us all. When the system is “at capacity” as indeed we were told that we are, this means that everyone suffers, not only those struggling with COVID-related illness, but also those dealing with all sorts of health challenges, leading to avoidable death and illness for far too many whose screenings and treatments are deemed to be less urgent.

We call on your government to shift your approach to public policy to ensure that policy reflects the sentiment that “we are all in this together.”

It is time for your government to finally address the long-standing gaps in the social safety net. And sadly, these gaps are great, given the many reports of inequities of accessing health care for many Canadians, aggravated by systemic racism, structural colonialism, bias against the 2SLGBTQIA+ community as well as the dangerous stigmas that confront too many of those who experience mental health and substance use challenges. At this time of crisis, we ought to be doubling down on efforts to address the causes and consequences of discrimination, including anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism, to ensure that negative health outcomes created by inequality and inequity do not burden a health care system that is already at capacity. 

On December 8, 1966, the House of Commons passed the Medical Care Act. For 55 years, generations of Canadians have had access to health care based on need, rather than ability to pay. This national policy sets us apart from our southern neighbours, who often risk becoming homeless and bankrupt, and removes a profound obstacle that can impair an individual’s ability to access life-saving care. 

We are overdue for similar investments in our social infrastructure, to expand resources, support providers, and apply evidence-based strategies to improve health outcomes and reduce costs and burden on direct provision of health care. Contemporary research highlights the importance of recognizing the social determinants of health. The World Health Organization further notes that no public health strategy is complete without dedicated focus upon these, with special attention to the promotion of mental health

Multiple recommendations have been made to ensure adequate funding and resources for a public health approach to population mental wellness. This is more important than ever, with over 40 per cent of Canadians reporting a decline in their mental health since the pandemic began, statistics that will only get worse as Omicron-related restrictions set in. 

With a projected $100 million surplus and lots of fiscal capacity, now is the time for deep investments into our social safety net. By taking this approach to public policy you can not only reduce the burden on the healthcare systems (including mental health and substance use systems) but ensure a just transition towards a green economy. Investments must be made in:

We are living in unprecedented times, and this requires a different approach to public policy. An approach that recognizes the role for truly collective response to care to address the full range of health concerns that are threatening to put our health care system at risk. 

Now is the time to recognize the gaps in our current system. Rather than taping over cracks by preserving the status quo processes – such as the false split between physical health and mental health and our social infrastructure – this is the time to recognize that true public health requires addressing the substantial holes in our social safety net.

Kind regards, 

Alec Stratford MSW, RSW
Executive Director/Registrar
Nova Scotia College of Social Workers 

CC: Iain Rankin, Leader of the Liberal Party of Nova Scotia; Gary Burrill, Leader of the New Democratic Party of Nova Scotia

PANEL — Big Ideas in Mental Health: Homelessness

End-of-year office hours


As we end the year, we offer a special thank-you to our members for your continued dedication to the social work profession, and to your communities. 


The College’s office will close at noon on Friday, December 24, 2021.

It will remain closed until Monday, January 4, 2022.

To accommodate the last days of the annual renewal period, the College’s main phone line (902-429-7799) and email address (nscsw@nscsw.org) will be staffed on the following days:

  • Wednesday, December 29
  • Thursday, December 30
  • Friday, December 31

If you need step-by-step assistance, a video call may also be an effective way to get help; email us to request an appointment on Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

If you do need to visit us in person, you must contact us and make an appointment first to confirm that a staff member will be present and able to welcome you when you arrive. As a reminder:

  • All visitors must answer health-screening questions and provide proof of vaccination.
  • We keep a record of all visitors to our office, to aid contact-tracing.
  • The public health order for non-medical masks applies to all common areas of our building, including the lobby, elevators and restrooms.

Thank you for your patience and understanding! We hope the last days of 2021 will offer you all opportunities to rest, recharge, and prepare for what’s next; we look forward to seeing you in the new year.

Ending conversion practices

We join the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) in celebrating the passage of Bill C-4, which bans conversion therapy in Canada.

As part of his announcement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted: “LGBTQ2 Canadians, we’ll always stand up for you and your rights.” We gratefully welcome this announcement, while also recognizing that the road toward implementation of this lofty statement affirming the rights of 2SLGBTQIA+ Canadians remains uphill.

In our recent Big Ideas on Mental Health Panel on the topic, we explore the number of injustices that continue to serve as obstacles, including the many barriers to gender affirming care that continue to reflect the inequity that is inherent in our current health care policies. In light of this reality, we affirm our commitment to continue to advocate for the changes that are necessary for full equality.

Conversion therapy is defined as “any service, practice, or treatment designed to change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual, gender identity to one that matches the sex assigned at birth, or to repress or reduce non-heterosexual sexual attraction or sexual behaviours.” Such practices can be overt or covert, direct or indirect. While many of us may recognize the more traditional forms of conversion therapy, such as electroshock treatment or electroconvulsive therapy as a way to “cure” a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, we may not realize the more subtle ways that practitioners can still cause harm.

There are several ways a clinician’s unconscious bias can affect clients who identify as 2SLGBTQIA+ and are struggling with their identity. Such clients might experience some inadvertent comments, terms and inappropriate interventions by well-intentioned practitioners. For example, if a clinician shares their belief that gender identity is a social construct, with a client who is seeking to transition, they may in turn experience such a statement as invalidating. Comments such as these can cause significant harm and, due to the social worker’s power in that relationship, may function as deterrent for the client seeking gender-affirming care. 

Recent research shows that conversion therapy practices are far more prevalent than many people understand, with estimates that as many as 50,000 Canadians have been subjected to such practices.

In light of this, we are working on developing professional development opportunities to assist social workers in learning how to provide culturally appropriate services to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. We also invite social workers who would like to serve on a special work group for the professional standards committee, to begin to develop guidelines for social workers when working with 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals and families, to contact nadia.siritsky@nscsw.org.

Request for Proposals: Create professional development opportunities for our members

We’re seeking proposals for new professional development opportunities that will be delivered to members of the Nova Scotia College of Social Workers in 2022, regarding the following topic areas:

  1. The application of ethics
  2. Social justice
  3. Vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue and secondary distress
  4. Truth and reconciliation, as well as work with Indigenous communities
  5. Anti-racist and anti-discriminatory practice to lead toward cultural safety and anti-oppressive practice, with a focus on social work with the following populations:
    • Black/African Nova Scotians
    • 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals
    • refugees and immigrants
    • other historically marginalized and oppressed groups

Proposals for 2022 are encouraged to be structured in such a way that the presentation be delivered live over Zoom, with the ability to be recorded, so that members can access the content electronically.

The intent of the College is to eventually develop an online library of professional development modules that members will be able to complete on-demand. However, we recognize that such recordings may not be suitable for all topics and instructional techniques.

How to apply

Please email a proposal to nadia.siritsky@nscsw.org that includes the following information:

  • your qualifications and experience
  • an abstract outlining the workshop/session/training you hope to offer
  • a budget for your proposal
    • please include any estimated expenses and your own fees, considering both design and delivery
  • your assessment of whether the proposed session may be suitable for recording, in whole or in part (consider use of breakout groups or other substantially interactive formats, intellectual property rights, sensitive topics and privacy concerns, etc.)

Proposals will be assessed on an ongoing basis throughout 2022, but submission during the first quarter of that year is strongly encouraged.

Questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact N Siritsky at nadia.siritsky@nscsw.org to discuss.

Call for submissions to our 2022 conference

We are inviting presentation proposals for our annual conference.

Theme: Social Work Leading Transformational Change in 2022

Description

This year is our opportunity! Join us as we explore new perspectives and skills to deliver social work services in a changed landscape as we lead transformational change. This is the year that we embrace our role as change agents, advocates and leaders, as we seek to pivot from our role in perpetuating bias and systemic inequity, toward decolonization and true justice for all people.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought out essential truths often hidden and denied in the neoliberal world we live in. These truths can no longer be ignored: social inequities in income, employment and housing; continuous racism, including our own; ever-present violence in relationships; and vulnerabilities and gaps in health and mental health service delivery, now command our attention. And yet, in a world where everything has changed, and is changing, our professional mandate to work toward social justice invites us to consider our unique role as social workers in leading transformational change.

Goals

  1. to help members articulate what “transformation” means for them in their work, practice and communities
  2. to encourage every social worker to reflect on ways to create the practice-theory to lead transformational change 
  3. integrate theory and practice of social work through collaborative educational conversations about lived experience 
  4. to build conference participants’ confidence in leading and being the change, and have each person commit to specific actions in their work and in their communities

Guidelines

Proposals should address one or more of the following:

  • the application of ethics
  • truth and reconciliation
  • anti-racist and anti-discriminatory practice to lead toward cultural safety and anti-oppressive practice
  • social justice
  • vicarious trauma and secondary distress 

In particular, proposals on the illusion of cultural competence, and the need of the profession to shift to a different paradigm, are welcome. 

All sessions will be delivered live via Zoom. Presenters should expect that their sessions will be recorded; some sessions will be exclusive to conference attendees who participate live, while others may eventually made available for members electronically, depending on content and format. 

All presenters are expected to register and attend the conference.

Process

How to submit a proposal:

  • Complete all fields in the form below and click submit
    • Proposals for conference sessions in any format are welcome (e.g. poster presentations, panels, workshops, book launches, etc.).
  • Email a high-resolution photo of the speaker(s) to nscsw@nscsw.org
    • Minimum size 640 x 480 pixels (1500 x 1000 pixels preferred).
    • For sessions with multiple speakers, you may submit separate pictures or a single group photo.
  • Submit your complete proposal by noon (Atlantic time) on January 21, 2022

Proposal submissions will be reviewed by College staff and the Professional Development Committee.

New Professional Development Requirements for 2022

This summer, a committee of hard-working social workers, serving on the ad-hoc professional development standards working group, put together a proposal to transform our professional development standards. These changes were approved by Council in November 2021 and will take effect in January 2022.

These new professional development standards, briefly summarized below, reflect an evolving understanding regarding the importance of professional development to ensure the safety and well-being of the public. After two years of temporary changes to the professional development requirements of social workers due to the pandemic, we are excited to announce these new standards which will address many of the pressing concerns facing our members, as well as the clients that we serve.

Purpose

The changes are intended to promote the professional competency of registrants, in light of new recommendations by the Nova Scotia Regulated Health Professions Network and evolving research regarding best practices related to professional development. Furthermore, they are grounded in our professional Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, and are aligned with CASWE-accredited social work curricula.

The proposal was also informed by the current context of our profession in Nova Scotia, taking into consideration recurring patterns in complaints received by the College, our obligations to reflect and respond to inquiries and reports such as the calls for justice offered by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and communication received from our members.

Summary of changes

Old requirements

Active NSCSW members previously had to complete 40 hours of professional development annually, plus 5 hours of professional development on social work ethics every 5 years. Inactive members had to complete a reduced number of hours, and the ethics requirement was suspended until and unless they regained active status to resume practice of social work.

New requirements for 2022

Instead of being on a five-year cycle, mandatory training will now be included in the annual professional development tally, and additional topics have been selected. All active and associate members will be required to complete a total of six hours on selected topics every year.

  • mandatory ethics training (1 hour)
  • mandatory anti-racist and anti-discriminatory practice training (1 hour)
  • mandatory training and/or activities in:
    • Truth and Reconciliation (1 hour)
    • social justice (1 hour)
    • prevention of vicarious trauma and secondary distress (2 hours)

The guidelines for identifying types of formal and informal professional development are being revised to provide members with greater clarity on categories and expectations, based on our current realities and research related to best practice.

The online form for professional development tracking is being revised to reflect these changes, increase ease of use, and encourage members’ critical reflection on each of the activities they choose.

Support from NSCSW

Concurrently, we’re working on developing easily accessible, online and free educational resources to assist members in completing these requirements, and in organizing their professional development to facilitate their successful annual registration renewal. This was a key component of the feedback that we received from members.

While this remains a work in progress, we invite all members looking for professional development resources to check out the growing lists of recommendations on our redesigned Professional Development Activities page.

We are also preparing messages for the organizations that employ social workers in Nova Scotia, to help them understand what is required of you and why. It benefits your employer to have competent, ethical professionals who are engaged in continuous learning as part of their organization, and protects the people and communities you work with; it is in their interest to support you in this process at every stage of your career.

Your voice

These new requirements were designed by and for Nova Scotian social workers, to enable the College to fulfill its mandate to regulate social work practice in a way that truly protects the public, and to support social workers in enacting the values of our profession. We are grateful to all of the members who served on this committee, as well as all those who have provided important input and feedback into the draft proposal at one of the four feedback sessions we held this fall or via email. 

“I am grateful to be part of an organization working to ensure greater justice and equity for all Nova Scotians.”

Member feedback

“These new requirements make me proud to be a social worker.”

Member feedback

As part of fulfilling our mandate, we are constantly working to improve the way that social workers in Nova Scotia are able to complete their required professional development. If you have any ideas regarding professional development that you would like to see offered in the future, please contact nadia.siritsky@nscsw.org.

Transgender Day of Remembrance

November 20 has been named the Transgender Day of Remembrance since 1999.

This annual observance was founded by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honour the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The vigil commemorated all the transgender people lost to violence since Rita Hester’s death. Since, this day has become a time to learn about the ongoing social justice concerns of the gender-diverse community, and the ways that prejudice continues to be persistently reflected in policy and social attitudes.

“Transgender Day of Remembrance seeks to highlight the losses we face due to anti-transgender bigotry and violence. I am no stranger to the need to fight for our rights, and the right to simply exist is first and foremost. With so many seeking to erase transgender people — sometimes in the most brutal ways possible — it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered, and that we continue to fight for justice.”

Gwendolyn Ann Smith, founder of the Transgender Day of Remembrance

In honour of this day, our Social Justice Committee will be hosting a special Big Ideas in Mental Health Panel on Monday, November 22 at 5 p.m. Our panelists will discuss the unique social justice issues related to mental health for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, with a specific focus on the current gaps in understanding and service facing those who are transgender, gender-diverse and intersex, and the need for a province-wide policy to improve access to gender affirming care.

Panelists for our November 22 event include:

The event is free to attend, and all are welcome. I hope you will join us; register at eventbrite.ca/e/203949096237.


N Siritsky, SWC
NSCSW Professional Practice and Advocacy Consultant

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