Ethical Consultation

The Ethics Committee of the Newfoundland and Labrador College of Social Workers (NLCSW) provides consultation and feedback to members on ethical issues. Consultations are guided by the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) (2005) Code of Ethics, CASW (2005) Guidelines for Ethical Practice, NLCSW (2020) Standards of Practice for Social Workers in NL, the Social Workers Act (2010), and other relevant legislation.

The committee meets monthly and is comprised of social workers from diverse areas of practice. A complete committee listing is available at NLCSW Committees | NLCSW.

    Ethical Consultation Process

    Social workers can request an ethics consultation from the Ethics Committee by contacting the NLCSW office by phone, e-mail, letter, or by filling out the ethical consultation request form. Ethical consultation requests are generally discussed during monthly committee meetings However, if a more immediate response is necessary, requests may be forwarded to NLCSW social work staff who also provide this service for individual members. Requests for consultation must include an overview of the ethical dilemma or issue and steps that have been taken towards resolution. This information should have sufficient detail to allow the committee to make an informed response. Members’ names can be excluded from committee discussions upon request, however contact information is needed for follow-up and documentation.



    As social workers are responsible for their own practice decisions, the Ethics Committee does not provide answers or make specific recommendations. Ethical consultations are collegial and feedback is provided for information purposes only. Committee responses are generally provided to members within one day of the committee meeting and discussion. The response may be given verbally or in the form of a written response.


    All consultations are documented and a consultation record is kept securely at the NLCSW office. The consultation record contains an overview of the ethical dilemma or issue, steps taken to resolve the issue, applicable sections of the CASW (2005) Code of Ethics, and NLCSW (2020) Standards of Practice and committee feedback/points for consideration. These records allow the committee to monitor ethical issues and trends.

    Additional Resources

    In addition to ethical consultations, the committee identifies, examines and analyzes issues facing the profession from an ethical perspective, and is involved in the development of practice resources, professional education, and articles for the Connecting Voices Newsletter. Key practice resources produced by the committee includes:

    • Ethical Decision-Making in Social Work Practice: The guide, which is grounded in the CASW (2005) Code of Ethics and professional literature, is intended as a resource for social workers to use as they navigate ethical complexities in practice and make sound ethical decisions.
    • Ethical Compass: The Ethical Compass is an initiative of the NLCSW Ethics Committee and is intended as a resource for members. The issues covered in this series have been identified by social workers as part of the NLCSW ethical consultation process and from a review of ethical trends in practice.
    • Documentation Matters: Developed by NLCSW's Ethics Committee,  this resource offers documentation tips to social workers in a short and concise format