Open letter: Social workers and personal protective equipment

April 7, 2020

The Honorable Stephen MacNeil, Premier of Nova Scotia
One Government Place
1713 Barrington St
Halifax, NS B3J 2A4

The Honourable Randy Delorey, Minister of Health and Wellness
Department of Health and Wellness
Barrington Tower 
1894 Barrington St
P.O. Box 488
Halifax, NS B3J 2R8

Dr. Rob Strang, Chief Medical Officer of Health
17th Floor, Barrington Tower
1894 Barrington St.
P.O. Box 488
Halifax, NS B3J 2R8

Re: Social workers and personal protective equipment

Dear Premier MacNeil, Minister Delorey and Dr. Strang,

As the provincial voice for social workers in Nova Scotia, the NSCSW is writing you today with an immediate and growing concern that social workers across Nova Scotia are performing essential services without access to personal protective equipment.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, social workers across Nova Scotia are being asked to complete essential work – protecting children, managing immediate and chronic mental health issues, supporting isolated seniors, helping families experiencing trauma, integrated health teams and so many other essential roles that support social cohesion in this time of crisis.

The NSCSW is writing to plead for the consideration of social workers, who are also placing their lives at risk, when contemplating the decisions behind the distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) within the province. 

The NSCSW understands that the distribution of PPE provincially is being done in a way to support diverting supplies to when and where the need is the greatest. We plead that social workers, in areas of crisis, be given consideration for the allocation of PPE in order to protect their lives while carrying out essential services, and to protect the vulnerable people they serve who may be at heightened risk during the pandemic.

As this crisis deepens, the health considerations of COVID-19 will be considerable, however the compounding social consequences will also have profound repercussions. Nova Scotia will need social workers to support the rebuilding of our families, communities and nation after the health crisis has abated.

Please support social workers now by giving them due consideration when distributing personal protective equipment to areas of emerging crisis and need.

Kind Regards, 

Alec Stratford MSW, RSW
Executive Director/Registrar 
Nova Scotia College of Social Workers