Webinar: Ethics 101

Annual renewals for 2021 are open!

Screenshot of member portal link on NSCSW homepage

You can now complete your 2021 registration renewal online. Please follow the steps below to complete the renewal process.

We remain confident in our ability to help you through the renewal process, though the pandemic has made adaptation necessary for everyone. 

  • If you encounter a problem that cannot be fixed with the troubleshooting tips on this page, please contact the College for assistance. Our staff can assist you by phone, email, or video chat.
  • If you need to visit our office in person, please email us to make an appointment; for your safety and ours, we are unable to accept drop-in visitors as we used to. Scheduled appointments and health screening questions are required for all visitors.
  • Our small but dedicated staff team aims to respond within two business days to all renewal inquiries. Please avoid leaving messages for multiple team members as it can further slow down our response. If the person you contacted can’t help you themselves, they will forward your question to the correct person on your behalf.

This year more than ever, we encourage you to consider early renewal as a gift to your future self.

1. Member login

Visit NSCSW.org and click the member portal link in the top-level menu. Look for the words renew here

Use your member registration number and password to sign into the member portal.

Login tips & troubleshooting

  • Can’t remember your member registration number?You can find it by looking up your name in the public registry. Or you can sign in using your primary email address.
  • Can’t remember your password? Click “Forgot your password?” and follow the directions, and you’ll receive an email with instructions to regain access. All fields are case-sensitive. 
    • Use the password reset option early; your profile will be locked if you enter an incorrect password three times in a row. 

2. Professional development inventory

Click on Professional Development in the menu, and select Activities.

Scroll down and find Add Activity

Use this option to enter each of your professional development activities from 2020. 

Professional development hours in social work ethics are tallied separately, because they are counted over five years, not one. Scroll down to see your multi-year total of ethics hours. If your ethics hours are due this year, you will need to make sure they are complete before you continue.

Screenshot of member profile: Total Social Work Ethics Training Hours Since 2015. Table lists activities and dates, and total hours.

When you’re done, choose Submit to College from the menu.

Once your minimum hours are met, the Submit button on this page should change its colour to blue – click this to continue. Click Finish when you are done. A renewal form link will then appear on the front page of your member profile.

Professional development tips & troubleshooting

  • Are you a Social Worker Candidate? SWCs are required to complete and report to the College the same amount of professional development (PD) as RSWs.
    • Annual PD and the Candidacy Mentorship Program (CMP) are separate regulatory requirements, and are tracked in different sections of the member portal. The PD activities you complete to fulfil your membership renewal obligations should not be counted as CMP activities, and vice versa. However, SWCs may choose to include discussions of PD activities in conversations with their mentor.
  • If you had active registration for the entire year, you need 40 hours of PD; of these, at least 5 hours must be formal learning. You may need fewer hours if you were an associate for any part of the year, or joined the College after the first quarter of the year. (See sections 22-25 of the Social Worker Regulations and the temporary changes in response to the pandemic).
  • If you are an active member who was were registered before 2016, you need to have completed your first set of five hours of PD in social work ethics before submitting your renewal.
    • Ethics hours are not counted towards your annual total. For example: if you need 40 hours of annual PD, and are completing all five ethics hours this year, you would need to enter at least 45 hours of PD activities in the appropriate categories.
    • These hours are tracked over a recurring five year period, so they are now in a separate table in the member portal from your annual hours. Scroll down on the Activities page to see your multi-year total for ethics PD.
    • Do you still need more ethics hours? Learn more about where to find them.
    • If you are an inactive member at renewal, this requirement will be suspended until your next renewal when you have resumed active status.
  • For multi-day activities, such as a conference or an ongoing volunteer commitment, you can either enter each day as a separate activity, or choose the start date and enter any additional date information in the description section.
  • You will only be able to submit the professional development inventory once your minimum hours are met.
  • You won’t be able to edit activities or add new ones after you submit the inventory. Please make sure all details are complete before you click the button. If you accidentally submit too soon and need to make changes, you will need to ask College staff to assist you.

3. Complete renewal form

Complete the entire renewal form. Review all your information and confirm it’s correct.

  • Do you have a new mailing address, primary email, or phone number?
  • Is all your employment information up to date, and complete?
  • Are you interested in a position on Council, or a College committee?
  • Are you subscribed to our mailing list to receive updates from the College, the biweekly email newsletter, and Connection magazine?

Please make all your updates and changes before you submit the form.

Renewal form tips & troubleshooting

  • Your “common first name” is the name you are commonly known by, and/or prefer to be called. It might be be your legal first name, your middle name, or a nickname; whatever it is, it should be included in our registry so that someone searching for that name will be able to find and confirm your registration.
  • You may need to re-enter your current employment information. Database improvements have changed how employer information is stored, so you may need to re-enter these details in the new format. If you have multiple employers to add, you can tap Add New on that page of the form to create a separate entry for each one.
  • Are you a private practitioner? To have your listing included in the registry you need to enter your practice information in the employment section and give consent for us to publish it in the registry. These are on two different pages of the renewal form. 
    • The public registry will identify all private practitioners, but will only include contact information for your practice if you complete both of these steps.

4. Select payment & submit renewal form

There are three payment options:

  1. To pay online, click the Pay Now box next to your registration fee(s), enter your credit card information, and click Process Payment.
  2. To pay by mail, select Cheque. Your cheque payment must be received before December 15.
  3. If your employer plans to submit payment directly on your behalf, select To Be Submitted By Employer. You will be able to view and print an invoice for them.

If your employer is reimbursing you for registration fees, you may choose whether you prefer online or cheque payment. After your renewal is complete you can print copies of your receipt directly from your member profile, and submit them to your employer according to their internal process.

Payment is due no later than December 31 (see Late Renewal section below).

Payment tips & troubleshooting

  • We will only accept payments once the online renewal form is complete.
  • Cheque payments are only accepted until December 15, 2020, to allow time to process and deposit payments before the end of the year. 
  • We do not recommend post-dating cheques. If a cheque payment fails on December 31, that member may not have time to complete an alternate method of payment before the deadline, and could have their registration suspended. 
  • If your employer submits payment to the College on your behalf:
    • Please ask them about their internal deadlines. You will need to complete the renewal form and give them your invoice before they can submit your payment. They may need time to collect and process these for multiple staff members, so act early.
    • Are you also a private practitioner? Most employers do not cover the $50 annual fee to maintain your entitlement to engage in private practice. To pay this portion yourself when you’re completing the renewal form, use the Pay Now checkboxes to split your payment; select the box next to Private Practice Fee and deselect the one next to Annual Renewal Fee
  • We strongly encourage you to pay online if you can. Cheques can be dropped through the mail slot, but in-person card payments will require an appointment (please email us to book one), as our office is closed to drop-in visitors due to pandemic protocols.

5. Completing renewal

Your registration is renewed for 2021 once the College receives both your complete online renewal form and your payment of registration fees. You need to renew your registration to continue practicing social work in the new year. 

Once your registration is renewed, you can print your receipt and proof of 2021 registration (i.e. certificate or wallet card) directly from your online member profile.


Leaving the College

If you have retired or left the province and will not be renewing this year, please contact the College’s executive assistant Nancy Viner at Nancy.Viner@NSCSW.org.

If you have changed positions and believe you are no longer practicing within the Scope of Practice as defined by the Social Workers Act, you may apply for resignation by submitting a request and current job description to the College’s Executive Director/Registrar for review in accordance with Social Worker Regulation 26 (a). Please send requests for resignation to our Executive Director/Registrar Alec Stratford at Alec.Stratford@NSCSW.org

Why is registration renewed annually?

The annual renewal process is a core NSCSW regulatory function. It confirms to the public that our members have the ethical foundation, skills and good character to practice social work in Nova Scotia. 

Renewal is also an opportunity to reflect on your professional growth and development, and to bring to life the core social work value of integrity in professional practice. You’re recommitting to the values and standards of our profession and reflecting on your goals and commitment to lifelong learning. 

Professional social work registration is a privilege our members can take pride in.

Late renewals

If a member’s registration is not renewed by December 31, it will be suspended on January 1. The member will need to pay an additional fee to reinstate their registration.

The Social Workers Act requires that individuals who practice social work in this province must be registered with our College. If a member’s registration is suspended, this may affect their employment. 

It is each individual member’s responsibility to ensure their own registration is renewed on time. We encourage all members to consider completing their renewal as soon as possible.

Early bird renewal draws

On November 1 2020, we will randomly select a member who has completed all steps for their annual registration renewal before October 31. We will complete a second draw on December 2, from all members who completed renewal before November 30.

The two winners will each be offered free tickets to the College’s 2021 virtual conference: Challenging Our Social Justice Lens.

(College staff and Council are not eligible for these draws.)

Our role as social workers, and as treaty people

All people in Canada have treaty rights and responsibilities. Those who have settler, arrivant and refugee origins are challenged to collectively work towards reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and communities.

Even as we reckon with our profession’s role in residential schools and other colonial projects designed to displace, dispossess and disempower Indigenous peoples, social workers are also embedded in communities that are grappling with their own roles in the great and necessary labour of reconciliation.

As many Nova Scotian fishing communities struggle through conflict and crisis — worsened by the intersections of a pandemic, economic uncertainty, and racism — we encourage our members to approach this work with a trauma-informed lens, to draw on the resources available to you, and to ground your praxis in your professional values and ethics.

We are confident in your desire to rise to these challenges, and to help your communities do the same. Let us know how we can support you.

Special General Meeting

Date: October 23

Time: 12 noon to 1 p.m.

Platform: Zoom

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed and challenged how organizations operate and deliver core services. For the NSCSW, one of our important functions is to preserve the ability of our members to engage in democratic processes regarding the governance of the College. 

This year the College successfully ran its first online Annual General Meeting. We were able to facilitate this meeting online because of the Emergency Management Act and the ongoing state of emergency; the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing declared that AGMs could be held virtually regardless of whether bylaws allowed for electronic voting or not. 

Planning has already begun for next year’s conference and AGM. Given that we will still be living with COVID-19 next year, we are planning for these events to take place online.

To ensure that the online AGM is able to include online voting, the Council of the College has called for a special meeting to take place while the Emergency Management Act and the minister’s declaration still grant us the ability to meet and vote digitally. There will be a single motion: to amend the College by-laws and make necessary provisions for future general meetings to be held virtually.

Online registration for this special meeting will open shortly. The meeting agenda and the proposed motion will be sent via email to members who pre-register for the meeting online, or who are subscribed to the College mailing list.

If you have a colleague who previously opted out of the mailing list and would like to re-subscribe, please advise them to contact communication coordinator Rebecca Faria at rebecca.faria@nscsw.org with the email address they use for their member profile and their registration number.

Webinar: Mental Health with Elementary Age Students

Webinar: Brief Intro to Borderline Personality Disorder for Child Protection Staff

Webinar: Help is on the Line; Incorporating Technology into Therapy

Webinar: Using Family Diagrams to Engage Clients and their Families

2020 Student Bursaries

Are you a student member?

You’re eligible to apply for a $500 dollar bursary!

College bursaries will be awarded to up to four Nova Scotian student members who are attending accredited social work programs in the fall of 2020. Bursaries are awarded based on your commitment to professional social work practice.

We value diversity and strive to create opportunities for Nova Scotians with intersectional identities who have historically faced barriers. Preference for bursary awards will be given to applicants who identify as holding an identity that has historically faced barriers to accessing educational opportunities.

To apply please complete the application form linked below, and attach confirmation of enrollment from your University.

The deadline for applications is October 9, 2020. Bursary decisions will be announced November 2, 2020.

» Apply for a student bursary

My NSCSW placement experience

By Emily Neily

A closed door; an open door

Like many other Bachelor of Social Work students, I submitted my placement proposal in November of 2019 and was hopeful that everything would work out for a full-time placement from April to August of 2020. I was initially interested in doing a placement in child protection and was getting excited as everything fell into place. Unfortunately, late March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all field placements were put on hold. This was very challenging for a lot of social work students who had made plans and put their work lives on hold in order to complete their placement, myself included.

I was worried about not being able to graduate in October, and how I could manage to complete my placement hours with all the restrictions due to the pandemic. I was really excited when I received a call a few months later about a potential placement with the Nova Scotia College of Social Workers. The projects were new, and a little out of my comfort zone, and it seemed very exciting.

After meeting with Alec the Executive Director/Registrar at the NSCSW and discussing the projects I became even more excited about the opportunity. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic it was a remote placement. It involved working with the Nova Scotia Action Coalition on Community Wellbeing (NSACCW) to do an environmental survey on affordable housing at the municipal level, and creating a policy note. The placement also required research on vicarious trauma, and using the principles of adult learning to create training modules

Affordable housing & municipal policy

Through my initial research on municipal affordable housing policy in Nova Scotia I learned that there are a lot of gaps. I also learned that strategies, policies and bylaws varied between municipalities, as did enforcement. Some municipalities had firmer strategies on affordable housing strategies while others had none at all. 

Affordable housing is a huge issue in Nova Scotia both in rural and urban communities. Rent prices are incredibly high, maintenance standards for rentals are not always enforced, housing for individuals with disabilities and seniors are difficult to find, and finding housing in communities close to work, school and family is challenging. Housing security and homelessness are major issues, and many communities do not have homeless shelters.

Although many see housing as a provincial responsibility, there are many things that can be done at the municipal level to help with housing security. In my research I found best practice strategies included secondary and garden suites, inclusionary zoning, intensification through rezoning, streamlining developer approvals, municipal land grants, municipal housing funds, housing strategies and standards of maintenance bylaws. This was a new area of learning for me that I found really valuable.

Working with the NSACCW was a wonderful experience as its members have so much insight and knowledge around the barriers Nova Scotians face, and strategies to address them. Attending virtual meetings and learning about their projects and initiatives was one of my favorite placement experiences.

After completing my research, I was able to put together a policy note which was a challenging, and new experience for me. I was surprise by the amount I learned on this project and how passionate I felt about it.

Vicarious trauma & self-care

My second project was the vicarious trauma modules. I knew about secondary trauma and burnout coming into this placement, but did not have much knowledge around vicarious trauma. Through research I learned that vicarious trauma occurs when a social worker is exposed to client trauma such as hearing about traumatic experiences or attending traumatic scenes. It results in a negative change to the worldview and beliefs of the social worker, and can cause physical, emotional, and workplace issues.

Social workers deal with trauma on a daily basis and are at high risk for vicarious trauma. Learning about protective factors, things employers can do, and how to maintain self-care to reduce risk were all areas of learning for me. I found this research really valuable for the modules, and for myself personally.

Creating learning modules was more difficult than I anticipated. Even just developing the objectives involved a lot of work and revision. I had the opportunity to use concept mapping in the module planning portion which was a very interesting experience. Finding resources and media sources was also a fun part of module creation. By the end I was really excited about how things came together.

In conclusion

My placement experience with the NSCSW has been an amazing learning opportunity. I gained insight into myself and my personal interests, met a lot of wonderful people and learned new skills I had never considered when writing my placement proposal. 

For anyone who is looking for a social work placement, I highly recommend looking at opportunities with the NSCSW. You will have a great learning experience and will not be disappointed with your choice.


Emily Neily completed a student placement at NSCSW in 2020.

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