Coming Soon: The Future of Candidacy

The Candidacy Committee is nearing the end of its review process and will present recommendations for change to the membership at the spring annual general meeting.

The committee needs your final feedback! Please review the Future of Candidacy and attached framework and example appendix and leave your comments below. 

Candidacy is a legislative requirement enshrined in the amended Social Workers Act.  

Social work has three distinct sectors: education, regulation, and practice. Candidacy merges the three sectors together and strengthens the social work profession. A revised and improved Candidacy program supports social work as a complex, nuanced, and contextual practice.

The revamped Candidacy program is built through the exploration of the social work professional identity. There is a consensus among the committee members that social work has struggled to hold a clear vision of itself creating a complex tension between social work values, ethics and standards and the demands and structures of the workplace.

On one side, there is a pull towards the profession’s principles and values which are embedded in social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people.

On the other side, social workers are often pulled towards the maintenance of the status quo by asserting social control. This creates a need for social workers in Nova Scotia to support one another to negotiate this tension through the Candidacy program.

These tensions are exacerbated by high caseloads, strict deadlines, public scrutiny, lack of resources, and an inability to influence decisions or alter undesirable situations. The impact of Managerialism on social work practice in Nova Scotia cannot be understated.  

This ideology has been used to hold social services accountable to their bottom line, rather than the social needs of the people these systems serve. Managerialism impacts many areas of social work practice including:

  • The ability of social workers to uphold ethical practices,
  • An erosion or confusion of the professional social work identity,
  • Stress and burnout through vicarious trauma.

The future program is designed to counter and resist the negative effects of managerialism. It will encourage candidates to have a strategic, supportive and educational professional development experience rooted in principles of adult learning. Candidates will be linked with experienced social workers (mentors) and will be provided with educational and supportive mentorship.

The future Candidacy program will also:

  • Integrate knowledge, apply skill, and actions ethics in the Candidates first years of practice.
  • Support Candidates as they develop a professional identity, grapple with ethical issues, explore professional concerns related to their practice experience.
  • Integrate theory and practice, develop self-awareness, and refine a unique practice framework that builds resiliency.

We look forward to your feedback below!

In the next month, the NSCSW will release its policy on the transition into the new program for those already emerged in the Candidacy process.

Alec Stratford
Registrar/Executive Director

One thought on “Coming Soon: The Future of Candidacy

  1. The Candidacy program is far too long. You are correct in saying that Social Workers are overworked and undervalued. I believe that you need to also point out that Social Workers are underpaid as well.

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