Colleagues & Workplace

Colleagues & Workplace

4.1.1. Social Workers shall relate to both social work colleagues and colleagues from other disciplines with respect, integrity and courtesy and seek to understand differences in viewpoints and practice.

4.1.2. Social Workers shall not intervene in the professional relationship of a Social Worker and client unless requested to do so by the client.

4.2.1. Social Workers shall seek the advice and counsel of social work colleagues and colleagues from other disciplines whenever such consultation is in the best interest of clients. 1

4.2.2. Social Workers shall take responsibility and credit, including authorship credit only for work they have actually performed and to which they have contributed, and shall honestly acknowledge the work and the contributions made by others.

4.3.1. Social Workers who have concerns about the actions of a colleague shall attempt to resolve the matter through appropriate channels as established by their employer. If the matter cannot be resolved, Social Workers shall pursue other avenues to address their concerns consistent with client well-being, ethical principles and obligations outlined by their regulatory body.

4.3.2. When a conflict arises between a Social Worker and a colleague or other professionals, the Social Worker shall attempt to resolve the professional differences in ways that uphold the principles of the Code of Ethics and the Standards of Practice.

4.4.1. Social Workers who supervise or consult shall do so only within their areas of knowledge and competence.

4.4.2. Social Workers who supervise or consult shall establish clear relationship boundaries and clarify the nature and scope of the work to be done during the supervision/consultation.

4.4.3. Social work supervisors shall not engage in any dual relationships with supervisees when there is a risk of exploitation of or potential harm to the supervisee. It is the responsibility of the supervisor to demonstrate that any dual or multiple relationship is not exploitative or harmful to the supervisee(s).

4.4.4. Social Workers shall evaluate supervisees’ performance in a manner that is fair and respectful, and consistent with terms and conditions of the place of employment.

4.4.5. Supervisors of Social Worker Candidates shall adhere to the requirements of the Nova College of Social Workers Regulations as they relate to candidacy.

4.4.6. Social Workers who have the responsibility for evaluating the performance of employees, social work candidates, supervisees or students shall share the evaluations with them and seek feedback from them with the goal of improving supervision.

4.4.7. Social Workers who are responsible for the administration and supervision of personnel shall make reasonable efforts to promote written policies and procedures to protect the confidentiality of personnel records.

4.4.8. Social Workers who provide practice/clinical supervision in a workplace setting shall be responsible and accountable for the services provided by a student or supervisee.

4.5.1. Social Workers who are educators and field instructors shall provide instruction only in relation to their areas of knowledge and competence.

4.5.2. Social Workers shall foster in social work students, knowledge and understanding of the social work profession, the Code of Ethics, the Standards of Practice and other appropriate sources of ethical practice.2

4.5.3. Social work supervisors shall instruct students to inform clients of their student status.

4.5.4. Social work supervisors shall inform students of their ethical responsibilities to clients, supervisors and employers.

4.5.5. Social Workers shall adhere to the principles of privacy and confidentiality in the supervisory relationship, ensuring that their supervisees clearly understand possible limitations to these principles.

4.5.6. Social work supervisors shall recognize that their role in supervising students is intended to be educational and work-focused. In the event that a student requests or requires counselling, the instructor refers the student to another competent practitioner.

4.5.7. Social work supervisors shall evaluate a student’s performance in a manner that is fair, respectful, and consistent with the terms and conditions of the student’s educational institution.

4.5.8. Social Workers shall not engage in any dual or multiple relationships with students who they are currently supervising or teaching if there is a risk of exploitation or potential harm to the student. 3

4.6.1. Social Workers shall be accountable for their practice and shall work toward standards of service provision that reflect social work values in the workplace.

4.6.2. Social Workers shall use the employer’s resources honestly and only for their intended purpose.

4.6.3. Social Workers shall work to support policies, procedures, practices and service provisions that are in the best interests of clients, equitable, empowering, culturally appropriate and supportive of human rights, and respectful of diversity.

4.6.4. When, in the opinion of the Social Worker, the responsibilities to an employer are in conflict with the Social Workers’ obligations to the client, the Social Worker shall document the issue in writing. 4

4.7.1. Social Workers shall carefully examine relevant issues and their possible impact on clients before engaging in organized action to improve services to clients and professional working conditions. 5

4.8.1. Social Workers with management responsibilities shall inform organizational administrators of the ethical responsibilities of Social Workers and work to create work places that support ethical practice. 6

4.8.2. Social Workers with management responsibilities shall facilitate access for staff under their direction to professional education and advocate for adequate resources to meet staff development needs.

4.8.3. Social Workers with management responsibilities shall provide for, or arrange for, appropriate debriefing and professional support for staff when they experience difficult or traumatic circumstances.

4.8.4. Social Workers with management responsibilities shall refrain from exercising undue influence on Social Workers employed in more than one workplace to disclose information regarding another work site.

4.9.1. Social Workers shall be accountable and responsible to the employer for the efficient performance of their duties.

4.9.2. Social Workers who provide or intend to provide professional social work services through more than one agency or organization, including private practice settings, shall fully disclose all intentions and activities to each employer.7

  1. Social Workers keep themselves informed about colleagues’ areas of expertise and competencies. Social Workers only consult colleagues who have, in the judgment of the Social Worker, knowledge, expertise and competence related to the subject of the consultation.
  2. Social Workers are encouraged to be aware of codes of ethics and standards of practice of students from other disciplines if they are asked to supervise such students.   
  3. Social work educators and field instructors are responsible for setting clear, appropriate and culturally sensitive boundaries in their relationships with students.
  4. Social Workers strive to acknowledge and to carry out the stated aims and objectives of their employing organization, agency or service contractor, consistent with the requirement of ethical social work practice.
  5. The actions of Social Workers who are involved in labour management disputes, job actions or labour strikes are guided by the profession’s values and principles. Reasonable differences of opinion exist among Social Workers concerning their primary obligation as professionals during an actual or threatened labour strike or job action period.
  6. A workplace that supports ethical practice includes:
    a. Obtaining and maintaining adequate staff levels and acceptable working conditions.
    b. Promoting effective teamwork and communication and an efficient and accountable social work service.
    c. Facilitating access to social work supervision for professional social work practice and professional consultation where necessary.
  7. For example, many Social Workers work in more than one workplace and should not be placed in a position where they would have to disclose confidential information from one workplace to another.