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:

  • Vice-President
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary
  • Central Regional Representative: 2 positions
    • Halifax County and West Hants
  • Western Regional Representative: 1 position
    • Yarmouth, Shelburne, Digby, Queens, Annapolis, Lunenburg and Kings 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,
  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 Monday, April 10 at 4:30 p.m. ADT by sending a letter of intent and current CV to Alec Stratford (

Developing clinical regulation; Share your feedback

The NSCSW continues with its efforts to create a framework for the regulation of clinical social practice.

Following a resolution adopted by the NSCSW membership on May 12, 2022, the NSCSW is committed to further developing policy and standards towards clinical regulation to ensure the public is protected and that clinical social work is strengthened.

The NSCSW is taking a phased approach to the implementation of clinical regulation. The focus during phase one will be on using the NSCSW’s existing legislative framework to bring in clinical regulation related to private practice. It is important to note that phase 1 does not include the implementation of title protection for Registered Clinical Social Worker or the provision of diagnosing. It does include provisions to define the scope of clinical practice more clearly, define the knowledge and competencies required to specialize in clinical practice, and draft new standards of practice specific to clinical social work.

We invite all members, partners and collaborators and the public to review our draft documentation in its current stage of development.

We look forward to hearing your feedback:

  • There are consultations scheduled for key stakeholder groups, which you can find listed here.
  • You may leave comments on this post below
  • NSCSW members and community organizations can reach out directly to Alec Stratford ( to set up a time for one-on-one consultation

Background: The evolution of clinical social work practice in Nova Scotia

A private practice committee was formed in June 2017 to address issues with the NSCSW private practice by-laws. They recommended at the 2019 AGM that current entry-to-practice requirements including an accredited social work degree and declaration of adherence to Standards of Practice were sufficient, and proposed deregulating private practice while regulating clinical practice.

 In January 2021, the NSCSW released a major paper recommending regulation of clinical social work to strengthen the provision of  bio-psycho-social models of mental health services in Nova Scotia.

The Clinical Committee was formed, and NSCSW Council gave them the the objectives of developing a proposal for the regulation of clinical social work that provided a scope of practice for clinical social work, and developing regulations, rationale, recommendations and policy regarding successful regulation.

The Clinical Committee proposed changes include:

  • deregulating private practice
  • seeking amendments to Social Worker Act to update scope of practice
  • restricting clinical social work through regulations
  • protecting title of Registered Clinical Social Worker
  • introducing new Standards of Practice for clinical social work

NSCSW members accepted the proposal to further develop policy for the regulation of clinical social work on May 12, 2022 at the NSCSW’s AGM

Council is committed to creating a framework for the regulation of clinical social practice and pursuing legislative changes to the Social Workers Act to protect the public and strengthen clinical social work.

NSCSW is pursuing a phased approach of working towards clinical regulation:

  1. Phase 1 is currently focusing on developing criteria and standards of practice via the existing legislative framework to regulate clinical social work for those working in private practice.
  2. Phase 2 will include evaluating the current performance of the Integrated Governance Model in preparation for a request to government to amend the Social Workers Act.
  3. Phase 3 will assess the willingness of ministerial representatives to open/revise the Social Workers Act for revisions, involving consultation with relevant stakeholders such as Black/Indigenous practitioners, private practitioners, members of public representing marginalized groups, employers, professions/occupations providing similar services.

Join our team: Administrative Support, Regulatory Services

Position Summary

The Administrative Assistant Regulatory Services acts as a 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. This role is the primary administrative and logistical support to the NSCSW Board of Examiners.

Employment Equity 

NSCSW is committed to the values of justice and 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.


  • Wage range: $23.50 – $25.00/hr
  • This is a FTE temporary position for one year.
  • The NSCSW offers a defined pension plan through the NSHEPP.
  • The NSCSW offers competitive extended health benefits.

Job Accountabilities 

Registration Services

  • Prepares registration material for the Executive Director/Registrar to review and ensures that all the necessary documents/proofs for registration approval are included, as prescribed by the Social Workers Act, Regulation and By-Laws; prepare list of applications for approval.
  • Ensures that timely and accurate Board of Examiner meeting minutes are completed.
  • Processes verification of registration status for members applying for membership in another jurisdiction.
  • Ensures all approved applicants are added to the registry.
  • Works with Regulatory and Candidacy Manager, Application and Renewal Coordinator and the Executive Director/Registrar 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.
  • Updating documents (e.g. Regulations, Standards of Practice, Application and Renewal Policy Manual, Complaints and Discipline Policy Manual) based on decisions made by the Council and Board of Examiners.

Professional Conduct Process

  • Assists the Regulatory and Candidacy Consultant with the preparation of related material for Complaints and Discipline Process.
  • Ensures that timely and accurate complaints committee meeting minutes are completed

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.

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. 


  • Minimum high school diploma and recognized secretarial or office administration diploma.
  • Minimum three years of related administrative experience. 
  • Advanced knowledge of computer programs e.h. 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.


  • 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.


  • 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


Applicants should send a resume and cover letter to Alec Stratford, Executive Director/ Registrar at by March 14, 2023, at 4:30 p.m.

Advocating together: Building on hope and collective action

Join Advocacy Day: March 24, 2023

We will be hosting our second annual Advocacy Day event on March 24. This event seeks to bring social workers together to strengthen our advocacy skills, and connect with others seeking to create change in our communities, including allied health partners, community advocates and first voice champions.

The mini-conference will reflect the chorus of voices throughout Mi’kma’ki, with dozens of speakers from across our region sharing their words and thoughts. The many perspectives shared at this conference are intended to ground us, collectively, in a new way of thinking about health care and advocacy. 

In the process, we hope to build momentum for hope and collective action, strengthen the grassroots network of advocacy in Mi’kma’ki, and amplify the messages that are needed for social justice and wellness for everyone.

Join our campaign: March 24-31, 2023

Advocacy Day will launch our More Than a Diagnosis campaign.

The process of medical diagnosis speaks to the visible symptoms that affect an individual’s ability to participate in their daily lives and within broader society. Unfortunately, Nova Scotia’s current approach to mental health, and indeed, health in general, does not yet fully take into account all of the other psychosocial, spiritual and structural issues that profoundly affect us.

Social workers and allied advocates across the province will be invited to share our advocacy tools and messages with their neighbours and friends. In a world where knowledge, wisdom and lived experience are often seen as separate, and where these silos are reflected in our disciplinary knowledge, training, service provision, public health policy development and advocacy efforts, we are proud and grateful to partner with multiple amazing community partners to launch this collaborative campaign.

This campaign also reflects the NSCSW’s celebration of National Social Work Month in March, which spotlights the essential role of social workers to work with people and systems to create justice and healing. We celebrate social work by advocating for the values and principles that are at the heart of our profession. We affirm that every day our members support people in navigating complex systems that are still in the process of being developed and improved.

Our profession requires us to recognize the importance of advocacy as an expression of moral distress with the status quo. We believe that advocacy can have healing properties when it is done in a way that builds connections, creates shared goals, and focuses upon the unique intersectional contributions of every person, profession and community organization.

This is our vision

Ultimately, we are collaboratively striving to co-create a system of care that ensures every Nova Scotian has access to what they need to thrive.

We affirm that we will do everything we can to work for an approach to wellness that integrates psychosocial, spiritual and structural lenses. We affirm that this commitment is part of a larger imperative that we must all honour: the decolonization of our health care system and the healing of each of us, individually and collectively. And we affirm that coming together with a shared vision and strengthened connections is part of a healthier Mi’kma’ki.

As social workers, we commit to doing everything we can to building the connections that can ensure a solid foundation for the necessary labour of reconciliation that can lead to holistic wellness and justice.

This is the plan

NSCSW members have been offered free training in motivational interviewing and listening strategies in February and March. During the last week of March, NSCSW volunteers and our partner organizations will venture forth to build connections in their communities, putting advocacy tools directly in the hands of Nova Scotians. MLAs across the province will soon hear from hundreds, perhaps thousands of people demanding increased mental health funding and a shift from the current bio-medical model of care.

Each year’s Advocacy Day builds on the work of prior years. We intend to spend the next year increasing our momentum, so that we may double our effectiveness for next year’s Advocacy Day event and related activities. We’ll continue collaborating to decolonize health by advocating for better integration of the psychosocial determinants of health into government policy.

What we advocate for

We are continuing to strive to transform Nova Scotia’s systems in ways that reflect the recommendations of our 2021 mental health report (Repositioning Social Work Practice in Mental Health in Nova Scotia), including strategic investment in social determinants of health & well-being, family-centred & client- centred practice in service delivery, and increased accessibility & appropriateness of services for diverse communities.

Our focus is on the need for universally funded mental health services that are accessible, and are focused on prevention rather than crisis. They need to be community-based, trauma-informed and integrate the psychosocial determinants of health.

Most urgently, the Nova Scotia government is urged to adopt the minimum funding guidance of the World Health Organization: at least 10% of the health budget must be dedicated to mental health services. While this is NOT adequate, it is far more than is currently allocated.

How we advocate together

Our More Than a Diagnosis campaign is built around a growing network of groups that intend to unite their voices in advocacy for a shared vision of what mental health and well being in Nova Scotia can become.

Our calls to action align with the Act NOW for Mental Health campaign organized by the Canadian Mental Health Association. We are grateful for our growing collaborative partnership with their Nova Scotia division (CMHA-NS); their organization represents the first voice concerns of individuals and families affected by mental health and addiction challenges. By partnering with CMHA-NS we seek to model the kind of allyship that represents the ethics and values of the social work profession, as well as to amplify our voice and advocacy impact.

The advocacy tools our campaign will share were co-created with the Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia (LISNS). As more and more individuals feel disconnected from the political system, and do not feel comfortable engaging in the democratic process that can help transform challenges into opportunities, we are proud to partner with LISNS in developing a toolkit that can be used to advocate for the voices of every person living in Mi’kma’ki who who yearns for justice and equity. This toolkit will make advocacy action more accessible, and change more attainable, putting the building blocks of democracy in the hands of the people who most need it. We have power when we work together.

If you represent a community organization that would like to join us in these efforts, please contact to get started.

NSWM: What social work looks like

What better way to begin social work month than by celebrating two new social work programs in Nova Scotia. To our friends at Cape Breton University, we know this new program rooted in trauma informed care and contextualized to Cape Breton will be a huge benefit to all Nova Scotians. We are equally proud and thrilled for our partners at the Dalhousie School of Social Work who also announced their Africentric Social Work program at the end of January. Both programs will add greater diversity to the profession in Nova Scotia, a crucial component of the fight for justice. We are thrilled for all of those who were involved in their creation.

As we look at the year behind us and the opportunities in front of us our theme for National Social Work Month resonates strongly. Social work is essential and positioned to identify and fill systemic gaps, provide key services and programs, and connect communities to what they need, all while applying our skills to build a more just world. We are so proud of our members, and recognize and celebrate the invaluable contributions of social workers in supporting health, mental health and child and family well-being across complex systems and settings.

In our fight for justice, hope is an important beacon for communities and ourselves. With the multiple crises of cost of living, housing, health care, deep racial inequity and the climate crisis, being hopeful when there is so much despair is perhaps too much of an ask. However, there are clear indications that when we work in solidarity with our communities, social change does happen.

Along with the achievements of CBU and Dalhousie to create more opportunities for greater racial justice in the provision of social work, this year also brings with it three big advocacy wins that members, the College and our policy partners have been fighting for, and that truly speak to the value that social work brings to the province.

First in the coming weeks we will see the tabling of legislation to create a child and youth commission which will hold the same powers as advocate offices across Canada. Child and youth advocate offices have played a crucial role in the protection and provision of services to vulnerable children and youth. Social workers have worked hard to ensure that children and youth in Nova Scotia are not left vulnerable to the failings and abuses of state power and have pushed for the establishment of a legislated child and youth rights-based organization whose primary focus is to advocate, report and make recommendations to address failures of policy. Over the past five years our members, the college and our partners have had a laser focus on campaigning, engaging with media, providing education to the public, working with researchers, and meeting with MLAs. I had the distinct privilege of working with the government to create the final recommendations to the Minister on governance and operations of the office, and look forward to its creation.

Second, on March 1 the Government of Nova Scotia announced the creation of a new Family Stability Payment. This payment is intended to fill the gaps created by federal regulation that find parents ineligible for the Canada Child Benefit after their children have been placed in the temporary care and custody of the Minister of Community Services. Child welfare social workers, the College and community advocates have been pushing for this change for the last six years as it has caused undue financial strain and acute financial instability for affected families. Concerted strategic efforts utilizing research, media, and focus on creating pressure from both inside and outside the system led to this crucial victory and the first payment of its kind in Canada. This is what social work practice looks like, and I am so proud of what we have achieved together.

Finally, the Department of Community Services has announced that is moving forward with core changes to finally provide a long overdue practice framework for child welfare, one that focuses on well-being and strengths, rather than surveillance and punishment. This was achieved through concerted efforts internal to DCS with the NSGEU and labour management committees made up of social workers, community meetings and College pressure to change the delivery of child welfare services to align with social work values. The Department of Community Services has confirmed that the new framework will empower social workers to advocate for their clients and senior leadership at DCS has confirmed that advocacy will no longer be ostracized from the provision of child protections services. The fight for a system that truly works for child and family well-being is far from over, this marks a significant shift in government policy

As I reflect on what social work has achieved in this province I am filled with immense pride, and I hope you share in it. I know that this is just the beginning of what we can achieve together.  I often utilize and reflect on this quote, but I think it shines through with such wisdom in our current political state.

“TO BE HOPEFUL in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.
What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvellous victory.”

― Howard Zinn

Enjoy your social work month!

Alec Stratford
NSCSW Executive Director/Registrar

National Social Work Month 2023

Every day, social workers support people in navigating complex systems. We are uniquely positioned to identify and address systemic gaps, provide key services and programs, and connect communities to what they need, all while applying our skills to build a more just world.

This National Social Work Month, we come together with colleagues across Nova Scotia —and across Canada— to recognize and celebrate the invaluable contributions of social workers in supporting health, mental health and well-being across complex systems and settings.

This year our celebrations will feature our second Advocacy Day, creating opportunities for social workers, social work students and social work educators to join together with clients and community organizations in advocating for change. Our free one-day conference will kick off a week of concentrated advocacy and engagement regarding mental health in our province, with social workers and our community partners putting advocacy tools directly in the hands of other Nova Scotians; NSCSW members who would like to be part of this are encouraged to join a training session.

We have some amazing door prizes that we will be giving away at our virtual events, including books, artwork and free tickets for our annual May conference. We can’t wait to see each of you and celebrate the amazing work that you all are doing. Social work is essential.

Event Schedule


These are open to the public and free to attend.

Advocacy skill sessions

NSCSW members only

Social workers for social justice: Integrating advocacy into our practice

Lunch & learns

NSCSW members only


Social media resources


  • #NationalSocialWorkMonth
  • #SocialWorkIsEssential


Social workers for social justice: Integrating advocacy into our practice

Social workers for social justice: Integrating advocacy into our practice

DEC Panel: Indigenous Centred Approaches to Health and Wellness

NSCSW Connections: Communities of Practice