Workshop: Annual Registration Renewal

Lunch & Learn: Introduction to Mi’kmaw spirituality

Join the Connections Committee

NSCSW’s Connections Committee (formerly the editorial committee) is welcoming applications for members interested in having a say in the topics and stories that get covered in the College’s professional magazine, as well as helping members connect to one another through our quarterly communities of practice events.  

Connection magazine illuminates the essential role social workers play in our province. In its pages we share social work research, consider ethical challenges social workers may face in their practice, and showcase the many services our members provide that support Nova Scotians to lead healthier, happier lives. This publication plays a pivotal role in our advocacy efforts, and reaches social workers and provincial leaders across Nova Scotia.

Communities of practice are wonderful opportunities for like-minded practitioners, or professionals engaged in similar areas of practice, to be able to gather together and share ideas and best practices. They are an opportunity for networking, fellowship, resource sharing, and advocacy development. They can also help reduce burnout by reminding us that we are not alone, but rather part of a larger whole.

Take part in Connection

The connections committee is open to new members. We need your social work lens to guide the magazine content, and your networking skills to help connect social workers who have stories, resources and knowledge to share with our professional community.

Volunteering for committees is also an informal professional development activity; members can track these hours and apply them towards annual registration renewal.

Interested? Inquire today!

If you are interested in learning more about the work of the connections committee and perhaps joining in, please send an email to the College’s professional practice & advocacy consultant, N Siritsky, at nsiritsky@nscsw.org.

Celebration: Dr. Merlinda Weinberg’s Legacy of Diversity and Ethical Practice

Lunch & Learn: Decriminalizing & destigmatizing sex work

Workshop series: Meeting at the Crossroads of Grief & Trauma Awareness

Lunch & Learn: The Mi’kmaw ecological calendar

Discussion on CUPE 3912 labour strike

While the NSCSW does not represent social workers at the collective bargaining table, as a professional organization we fully support our members in their efforts to obtain contracts that recognize the extremely important work you do in our province.

As you may know, teaching assistants, part-time academics, markers, and demonstrators at Dalhousie University who are represented by CUPE 3912 —including several social work educators and students— went on strike on October 19, 2022. Ending the impasse with an agreement on a fair and reasonable contract will help those who need the services provided by educators and social workers, now and in the future.

We received the open letter below about this labour dispute, along with a request to share it on behalf of the signers. The NSCSW is committed to ensuring that our website is a space for members to advocate for the development, enhancement, and promotion of policies to improve social conditions and promote social justice; as well as a space to encourage members to participate in affairs promoting the practice of social work, in the best interest of the public.


Why social workers should support the CUPE 3912 labour strike

Take a short walk through the Dalhousie campus and you will see rows of picket lines at the university main teaching buildings. CUPE 3912 members, comprised of teaching assistants, markers, demonstrators, and part time sessional instructors started their legal strike at 12:01 am on Wednesday, October 19, 2022.

The labour dispute is over wages. Wages that did not increase since 2019, despite administrative salaries raising on a yearly basis. The salary increase for administrators and senior staff at Dalhousie University has been estimated to average close to 8% for 2021-2022 with Dalhousie’s President, Deep Saini, leading with a 13% increase.

And, while at the end of 2021, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the most well-known indicator of inflation surpassed 5% nationally, as documented by Statistics Canada, CPI reached 8% in August and has been recently sitting at 6.9% at the end of September. High numbers to stomach when your wage remains flat.

Wage parity is not merely an internal matter. Dalhousie University prides itself for being part of the U15 network of research-intensive Canadian universities, a network that fosters the development and delivery of research informed higher education, the type of research that trickles down in the classrooms and aims to train and mentor students in becoming the innovative leaders of tomorrow. Yet unlike its sister U15 institutions, Dalhousie University does not pay its CUPE 3912 members similar dollar amounts. Teaching assistants at University of Toronto get paid $44 per hour, while teaching assistants at Dalhousie University get $24 per hour. Almost a double difference in pay. While living and housing costs were estimated to be lower in Halifax than Toronto, that is no longer the case as housing and food costs have risen.  This can no longer remain an argument to halve the wages. In fact, living costs in Nova Scotia have been raising at record levels in 2022, as CPI in the province surpassed national averages, up to 9.3%, with rent costs rising to 8.2% and food by 8.8%. The city of Halifax, in particular, is experiencing an acute housing crisis that involves increase in rents, renovictions, expensive condo development and a reduction in both existing stock of affordable and social housing.

And you do not even have to take Toronto, Canada’s richest city as a comparative benchmark. Western University in London, Ontario and University of Ottawa are both paying its teaching assistants close to double the amount remunerated by Dalhousie University.

Social workers devote most of their professional careers to addressing issues of systemic inequalities. And the wage disparity between instructors/teaching assistants and administrative staff on the one hand, and between sessional staff from similar universities on the other hand, reflect issues of deep-seated economic inequalities. Supporting the strike is a clear call to action.

Labour organizing is part of social work curriculum

Community organizing is a staple credit course required in undergraduate and graduate level education at most schools of social work, including the Dalhousie School of Social Work. Teaching community organizing is not merely about familiarizing social work students with the work of civil society and the non-profit sector or discussing large scale demonstrations, such as the Occupy Movement or the Black Lives Matter protests but also about teaching students about unions, about strategies and tactics that could be used to strengthen union power and increase workers’ occupational conditions. Community organizing is about teaching students how to best engage in advocating, mobilizing and organizing for dismantling the power structures in society that are keeping people in precarious economic conditions.

And while teaching regularly unfolds in the abstract realm, social work teaching cannot occur in a vacuum, as social work theory is of little use if not applied to practice. Praxis is what we aim for in social work, and teaching about community organizing and labor issues needs to ultimately be reflected in taking a supportive position in solidarity with those striking for better working conditions. Crossing the picket line will bring into light a deep ideological contradiction between what we preach as social work educators and what we would be doing in practice.

Social justice, including economic justice, is a core value in social work

The pursuit of social justice is a core social work value in the Canadian Association of Social Workers’ Code of Ethics. Guided by principles of fair and equitable distribution of resources, “social workers uphold the right of people to have access to resources to meet basic human needs” (Canadian Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics, 2005, p.5). In practice, this often translates into striving to ameliorate the negative effects created in society through the primary distribution of resources via the private market. And the CUPE 3912 labour dispute is a clear example of an inequitable distribution of resources within a two-tiered academic system, a two-tiered university professoriate which employs highly paid permanent faculty members on the one hand while failing to increase pay for the sessional and temporary assistants and instructors, a system which rewards managers and administrators yet disregards the needs of its lowest paid workers.

Social workers have an ethical obligation to stand in solidarity with CUPE 3912 workers.

Raluca Bejan, Assistant Professor

Jeff Karabanow, Professor

Cassandra Hanrahan, Associate Professor

Nancy Ross, Assistant Professor

Merlinda Weinberg, Professor

Terrence Lewis, Associate Professor

Marjorie Johnstone, Associate Professor

Michelle Sutherland-Allan, Assistant Professor

Gail Baikie, Assistant Professor

Janet Pothier, Instructor

Jack Wong, MSW Student

Nicole Slaunwhite, MSW Student

Catherine Bryan, Associate Professor

Eli Manning, Associate Professor

Catrina Brown, Professor

Amanda Wilneff, MSW Student

Maggie Hertzberg, MSW Student

Emily Crosby, MSW Student

Kelly Reddy, MSW Student

Catlin De Villa, MSW Student

Meara Fletcher, MSW Student

Cyndi Hall, Field Education Coordinator

Kelly Curley, MSW Student

MacKenzie Gordon, MSW Student

Marion Brown, Associate Professor 

Mary Pam, MSW Student 

Eric Jonsson, MSW Student 

Second Annual NSCSW Awards Gala

Submit your nomination for NSCSW Council

Help shape the profession’s future in our province as part of the NSCSW Council

We’re accepting nominations for the following College Council positions:

  • Central Chapter Representative: 1 position
    • Halifax County and West Hants
  • Eastern Chapter Representative: 1 position
    • Guysborough, Antigonish, Richmond, Inverness, Victoria and Cape Breton counties

Roles and Responsibilities of the NSCSW Council

In addition to the responsibilities stated in the by-laws, Council members have the following major roles and responsibilities: 

  1. Understands and demonstrate a commitment to the organization’s vision, mission, values and programs,
  2. Has overall stewardship responsibilities for the College,
  3. Has charge of the affairs of the College,
  4. May make or change regulations under the Social Workers Act
  5. Proposes bylaws and amendments for voting by members,
  6. Regularly attends Council meetings and important related meetings,
  7. Commits to actively organizing events and meetings in their regions in partnership with NSCSW staff in order to effectively communicate NSCSW vision, mission and values and seeks feedback for members,
    or;
  8. Participates in a Committee of Council
  9. Volunteers for and willingly accepts assignments and completes them thoroughly and on time,
  10. Stays informed about committee matters, prepares themselves well for meetings, and reviews and comments on minutes and reports,
  11. Gets to know other council members and builds a collegial working relationship that contributes to consensus,
  12. Is an active participant in the committee’s annual evaluation and planning efforts.

Council Nomination Process

Submit your nomination no later than Wednesday, November 30 at 4:30 p.m. ADT by sending a letter of intent and current CV to Alec Stratford (Alec.Stratford@NSCSW.org).

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