CASW Distinguished Service Award

The CASW National Social Work Month Distinguished Service Award is given yearly by the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) on the occasion of the National Social Work Month, to an individual or group of individuals selected from their membership by each CASW member organization.


  1. The nominee is to be a Registered Social Worker who is a member in good standing, or a working group of members in Good Standing.
  2. The nominee or working group has made a substantial and unique contribution to the field of Social Work in the province of Nova Scotia and, therefore, contributed to Social Work in Canada through:
    1. demonstrating such qualities as compassion, leadership, creativity, initiative and high ethical standards.
    2. furthering social work in the area of direct practice, program/service development, community organization, social action, research, teaching or writing.
  3. The Nominee has served as a member of the Council of the NSCSW or has acted in a position of responsibility for the College.

Ronald Stratford Memorial Award

This award was established in 1984 in memory of Ronald Stratford. Ronald Stratford is remembered for his interest in social services from a holistic perspective, emphasizing prevention and community development. The Ronald Stratford Memorial award is intended to honour his memory in a manner which reflects his professional commitment to community service.


  1. The nominee, through volunteer efforts, makes a significant contribution to a preventive or community-based social service program.
  2. The nominee is involved in research surrounding a preventive or community-based social service program.
  3. The Nominee makes an outstanding contribution to establishing and/or sustaining a self-help group.
  4. The Nominee functions as a consistent and strong advocate for expanded preventive or community-based social service programs.

Freda Vickery Award

Freda Vickery is remembered as a dedicated Social Worker who for many years was the Director of Social Services for the I.W.K. Hospital for Children and who held a leadership position in the Nova Scotia Association of Social Workers. The Association established this award in 1985 to honour her and the professional qualities she displayed during her career as a social worker.


Awarded biennially to a Registered Social Worker who has demonstrated the following in his/her practice:

  1. The nominee is a member of NSCSW who upholds the ethical standards and values of Social Work.
  2. The nominee has displayed imagination and creativity in their professional work.
  3. The nominee has given his/her professional skills to the “community at large.”

Ken Belanger Memorial Award

Ken was a member of the Nova Scotia Association of Social Workers for many years and was active in different aspects of social work education, including serving as a field supervisor for students of the Maritime School of Social Work. Ken showed courage as an openly gay man in the social service and social work communities, and in speaking out about different forms of oppression and exploitation. He worked to educate social workers about homosexuality and the realities and needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons. Ken was generous in giving his time and skills to community groups and organizations through writing funding proposals and serving as a board member among other activities. After a long and courageous struggle with depression, Ken died on August 14, 1998.

Awarded biennially to a Registered Social Worker who has demonstrated the following in his/her practice:


  1. The nominee has demonstrated an explicit and unfailing commitment to pursuing social justice and to challenging oppression in its many forms.
  2. The nominee is recognized by the social work community as practicing social work with a high level of caring, responsibility, integrity, and ethical standards.
  3. The nominee has broken new ground working for, and on behalf of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons.
  4. The nominee has demonstrated a particular concern for gay and lesbian youth.

David William Connors Memorial Award

David Connors, MSW, RSW, is remembered as devoted to his family, a religious man and a committed professional social worker. His personal and professional priorities throughout his life and career stressed the importance of respect, caring, empathy and dignity towards others. The David William Connors Award was established by the NSASW Council in 1997 and is bestowed annually to a member of NSCSW who works in direct practice especially with youth. The David William Connors Award, in memory of David’s gentle manner and care for others.


Awarded annually to a frontline social worker who has shown the following attributes:

  1. The nominee has demonstrated a desire to go beyond the call of duty to meet the needs of clients.
  2. Has shown respect, caring, empathy and dignity in all aspects of his/her work.
  3. Has displayed, through direct practice, a basic belief in each human being’s personal worth and ability.
  4. Has endeavored to bring about lasting change for those in hardship, particularly youth.

The Diane Kays Memorial Award

This Memorial Award was dedicated in 2016 to the memory of Diane Kays.

Awarded annually social worker who demonstrates the criteria below.


  1. The nominee demonstrates exceptional professional and ethical standards in dealing with clients, colleagues, and the community.
  2. The nominee demonstrates a particular interest in working with and for women, violence against women, and who provides ongoing work in this area.
  3. The nominee demonstrates a critical analysis and the use of this analysis to inform the practice of social work.
  4. The nominee has a passion for social justice, standing with those who are marginalized and vulnerable in our society.
  5. A genuine regard and respect for others and whose dedication and competence is clearly reflected in the practice of social work.

Social Justice Ally Award

This award was created in 2021 by the NSCSW Social Justice Committee. It is given annually to an individual in the public sphere who has used their position or social standing to advocate for the role of social workers in serving the public good, and who advances our ethical mandate to work toward the establishment of equity and social justice.

This award is specifically created for an individual who is not themselves a social worker, but who serves as an important ally and advocate for the social work profession, its values, and its practitioners. This reflects the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration and partnership in service of the common good, and highlights the role of allied professions and other individuals of influence in supporting social workers’ efforts to eliminate oppression and establish equity and social justice.

As the focus of the Social Justice Committee’s advocacy efforts changes over time, the Social Justice Ally Award will likewise reflect the advocacy priorities of the College and the Committee during the year of nomination.


Awarded annually to an allied professional who demonstrates at least one of the following:

  • The nominee reflects the highest standards of social work in advocating for populations who are traditionally marginalized or oppressed;
  • is a skilled advocate who has demonstrated the courage and the integrity to advocate for individuals or causes that may be politically or socially unpopular or against the mainstream;
  • advocates for social workers’ role in ensuring the care and well-being of such individuals or groups of individuals; and/or
  • advocates for an understanding of problems with an intersectional and systems-based perspective that expands the current bio-medical or individualistic approach.

The recipient must have engaged in activities that specifically support and advance social work and its advocacy, not simply demonstrated support through financial contributions. These activities can include, but are not limited to:

  • political or community organizing;
  • leading or participating in educational campaigns regarding social justice and human rights;
  • engaging the arts for social justice advocacy;
  • playing a leadership role in a governmental or non-governmental agency that advocates for equity and social justice; or
  • demonstrating a more general and consistent commitment to advocating for the political and social rights of dispossessed people.

The nominator for this award must be a member of NSCSW.