How we got here
Over the last decade the Nova Scotia College of Social Workers (NSCSW) has experienced significant changes in leadership and staffing, as well as in strategic direction.
In 2016 amendments were made to the 1993 Social Workers Act which transformed the Nova Scotia Association of Social Workers into the Nova Scotia College of Social Workers, and sparked a renewed vision and growth for the NSCSW. The amended Social Workers Act resulted in major changes to the College’s mandate as both a regulatory and association body, our programming, and brand. The College also embarked on a provincial campaign to renew our professional commitments, values, ethics, and professional practices.
In 2017 the College focused on enhancing communication and engagement with members and the public including: building a bi-weekly member newsletter; transforming Connectionmagazine; offering professional development opportunities throughout Nova Scotia; and rebuilding core committees armed with a clear focus and expectations. 2017 also saw a provincial consultation regarding social work ethics, a revised Candidacy Mentorship Program, and significant achievements made toward becoming a recognized leader in advocacy, and social justice working to protect Nova Scotians.
A transformational agenda led to the College conducting a provincial consultation with its membership in effort to develop an ambitious 5-year Strategic Plan. The overall objective of the plan was to fulfill the College’s mandate and create a vibrant, visible, and vocal social work community. The membership voted to adopt this plan in 2018.
While the above does not represent an exhaustive list of the changes made and experienced by the NSCSW, the evidence is clear the College of today is transforming in nature, complexity and reach in effort to address its integrated function as both a regulatory and association body.
Attending to the College’s transformational agenda and goal of making impactful change has heightened the responsibilities and expectations of the College. In addition to these pressures, the College has experienced continuous membership growth breaking the 2000 mark in 2018, and has received an unprecedented number of complaints, increasing from an average of 16 complaints between 2012 to 2016 to approximately 44 in 2020.
Changes on the horizon
After a lengthy and comprehensive review, the NSCSW is ready to make some key changes. The first will be to transition the Professional Practice Consultant staff role, which is currently a 0.6 position, into a full-time position with new responsibilities regarding professional standards and advocacy.
This change does mean saying goodbye to Annemieke Vink who has done an outstanding job at bringing to life the new Connection magazine, providing strategic support to the Social Justice Committee as they delivered on our major mental health paper, and of course working with the Professional Development Committee to organize and deliver our annual conference and professional development events across the province.
Annemieke’s contribution to the profession of social work in Nova Scotia will be celebrated more over the coming months and we wish her well in her retirement.
Stay tuned to this blog and the member-only newsletter for more announcements over the next few weeks.