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Registration Practices Assessment Report — Overview
ONTARIO COLLEGE OF SOCIAL WORKERS AND SOCIAL SERVICE WORKERS (OCSWSSW):
Social Workers

Introduction

In June 2014, Ontario’s Office of the Fairness Commissioner (OFC) performed a targeted assessment of the way the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW) registers people who apply for a licence to practise in Ontario, to ensure that the registration practices are fair and continue to improve.

Assessment is one of the Fairness Commissioner's mandated roles under the Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act (FARPACTA).

Assessment Cycle

To hold regulatory bodies accountable for continuous improvement, the OFC assesses their licensing practices using a two-year assessment cycle.

Assessment cycles alternate between full assessments and targeted assessments:

  • Full assessments address all specific and general duties described in FARPACTA.
  • Targeted assessments focus on the areas where the OFC made recommendations in the previous full assessment.

This approach establishes continuity between the assessment cycles.

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Focus of This Assessment and Report

The June 2014 targeted assessment of the OCSWSSW for Social Workers focused on the areas where the OFC made recommendations in the full assessment it completed in February 2012.

The OFC’s detailed report captures the results of the targeted assessment. The assessment summary provides the following key information from the detailed report:

  • duties that were assessed
  • an overview of assessment outcomes for specific-duty practices
  • an overview of comments related to the general duty
  • commendable practices
  • recommendations

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Availability of Report

The OFC encourages the OCSWSSW to provide the detailed report to its staff, council members, the public, and other interested parties.

To receive a copy of the detailed report, click here.

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Assessment Methods

Assessments are based on the Registration Practices Assessment Guide – For Regulated Professions and Trades. The guide presents registration practices relating to the specific duties and general duty in FARPACTA.

A regulatory body’s practices can be measured against FARPACTA’s specific duties in a straightforward way. However, the general duty is broad, and the principles it mentions (transparency, objectivity, impartiality and fairness) are not defined in the legislation.

As a result, the specific-duty and general-duty obligations are assessed differently (see the Strategy for Continuous Improvement of Registration Practices).

Specific Duties

The OFC can clearly determine whether a regulatory body demonstrates the specific-duty practices in the assessment guide. Therefore, for each specific-duty practice, the OFC provides one of the following assessment outcomes:

  • Demonstrated – all required elements of the practice are present or addressed
  • Partially Demonstrated – some but not all required elements are present or addressed
  • Not Demonstrated – none of the required elements are present or addressed
  • Not Applicable – this practice does not apply to this regulatory body

General Duty

Because there are many ways that a regulatory body can demonstrate that its practices, overall, are meeting the principles of the general duty, the OFC makes assessment comments for the general duty, rather than identifying assessment outcomes. For the same reason, assessment comments are made by principle, rather than by practice.

For information about the OFC’s interpretations of the general-duty principles and the practices that the OFC uses as a guideline for assessment, see the Registration Practices Assessment Guide – For Regulated Professions and Trades.

Commendable Practices and Recommendations

Where applicable, the OFC identifies commendable practices or recommendations for improvement related to the specific duties and general duty.

Sources

Assessment outcomes, comments, and commendable practices and recommendations are based on information provided by the regulatory body. The OFC relies on the accuracy of this information to produce the assessment report. The OFC compiles registration information from sources such as the following:

  • Fair Registration Practices Reports, audits, Entry-to-Practice Review Reports, annual meetings
  • the regulatory body’s:
    • website
    • policies, procedures, guidelines and related documentation templates for communication with applicants
    • regulations and bylaws
    • internal auditing and reporting mechanisms
    • third-party agreements and related monitoring or reporting documentation
    • qualifications assessments and related documentation
  • targeted questions/requests for evidence that the regulatory body demonstrates a practice or principle

For more information  about the assessment cycle, assessment process, and legislative obligations, see the Strategy for Continuous Improvement of Registration Practices.

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Assessment Summary

Specific Duties

Specific duties assessed

As a result of the recommendations made in the full assessment completed in February 2012, the OCSWSSW has been assessed in the area(s) marked below:

None Unchecked
Information for Applicants Unchecked
Timely Decisions, Responses and Reasons Checked
Internal Review or Appeal Unchecked
Information on Appeal Rights Unchecked
Documentation of Qualifications Unchecked
Assessment of Qualifications Checked
Training Unchecked
Access to Records Unchecked

Outcomes

The OCSWSSW has demonstrated all of the practices in the following specific-duty area(s):

  • Timely Decisions, Responses and Reasons

For practices that are partially demonstrated or not demonstrated, see the Recommendations section later in this summary.

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General Duty

Assessment Method

The OCSWSSW selected the method marked below for the assessing of its adherence to the general-duty principles, and informed the OFC:

a. OFC assesses based on the practices listed in the assessment guide Checked
b. Regulatory body self-assesses based on the practices in the assessment guide Unchecked
c. Regulatory body self-assesses using a system-based approach, in which it explains what it does to ensure that its practices are adhering to the general-duty principles Unchecked

Principles assessed

As a result of the recommendations made in the full assessment completed in February 2012, the OCSWSSW has been assessed on the principle(s) marked below:

None Unchecked
Transparency Checked
Objectivity Unchecked
Impartiality Checked
Fairness Unchecked

Comments

The OFC found that since the last assessment, the OCSWSSW has taken measures to ensure a transparent and impartial registration process. The OFC identified three areas where the OCSWSSW can improve further (see the Recommendations section below).

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Commendable Practices

A commendable practice is a program, activity or strategy that goes beyond the minimum standards set by the OFC assessment guides, considering the regulatory body’s resources and profession-specific or trade-specific context. Commendable practices may or may not have potential for transferability to another regulatory body.

The OCSWSSW is demonstrating commendable practices in the following area(s).

Transparency

  • demonstrating openness by engaging actively with the OFC and by offering input during consultations and meetings. The college provided additional information about its registration practices upon request and made concerted efforts to implement agreed-upon tasks in its action plan. The college also took measures to improve the efficiency of its registration practices.

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Recommendations

The OCSWSSW should improve in the following areas.

Assessment of Qualifications

Status
  • Take measures to ensure that assessments conducted by language-testing agencies are transparent, objective, impartial and fair. (Practice 6.10)
Checked
July 2015
  • Take measures to ensure that assessments conducted by academic credential assessment agencies are transparent, objective, impartial and fair. (Practice 6.10)
Checked
July 2015

Transparency

 
  • State on the college’s website whether or not there are fees associated with a Canadian Association of Social Workers evaluation. If there are fees, state whether the applicant is responsible for paying them.
Checked
July 2015

Impartiality

 
  • Ensure that all individuals involved in assessments and registration decision-making receive training on FARPACTA.
Checked
July 2015
  • To assist decision-makers, develop and implement guidelines for recording all evidence, decisions and the rationale for the decisions.
Checked
July 2015
Blank = Implementation is in progress.
Checked = Recommendation is implemented.
Acceptable alternative = Regulator implements acceptable alternative to this recommendation.

Assessment History

In the previous assessment, the OFC identified eight recommendations for this regulatory body.

They have all been implemented.

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