COVID-19 & Social Work Practice


The COVID-19 pandemic continues to  impact individuals, families, groups and communities. Social workers understand that this pandemic can exacerbate issues for those individuals in our communities who are dealing with mental health concerns, addictions issues, poverty, homelessness, and violence. Many services and psychosocial supports are still required in the provision of health and social services.

Throughout this pandemic, the Chief Medical Officer of Health has issued public health orders and directives to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the province.  Social workers in all fields of practice must keep abreast of changes and continue to follow public health orders and directives accordingly. 

As alert levels change, social workers must use professional judgement, in consultation with their employing organizations, on how essential services will be continued or modified. Clear and ongoing communication with clients regarding service delivery is important.  

As a result of public health measures during this pandemic, the delivery of electronic social work services (e.g. telephone, on-line, video) has increased. Information pertaining to electronic social work practice can be found below. Social workers engaging in electronic service delivery should be familiar with the Technology Use in Social Work Practice (Explanatory Document).

Social workers providing in person services are advised to take all the necessary precautions in keeping with public health orders and guidelines as outlined by the Chief Medical Officer of Health including client screening for COVID-19 symptoms and exposure prior to office visits, physical distancing, hand hygiene, sanitation and disinfecting protocols, and use of PPE as appropriate.  

For the latest information on COVID-19 including the 5-step alert system as well as public health orders and guidance, please visit Additional trusted and credible sources of information are also listed below.  NLCSW will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 and will update this page regularly with information relevant to social work practice.  

Solidarity, compassion, and self-care….these are important as we move forward in addressing this pandemic and ensuring the health and well-being of ourselves and the individuals, families and communities throughout this province.


On October 15, 2021, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador released details of its Mandatory Vaccination Policy.  This policy does apply to social workers in Newfoundland and Labrador across diverse areas of practice.  Information about the policy can be found at

COVID-19 and Private Practice Office Spaces

As of October 22, 2021, people 12 years of age and older must be fully vaccinated or have an approved medical exemption in order to access a number of businesses and organizations in this province.  The provincial government has produced guidance for businesses and organizations which outlines which businesses and settings are required to check a person's vaccination record to access their space, and examples of businesses and settings where proof of vaccination is not required.  This information can be found at

Social workers in private practice must continue to stay informed of all measures that pertain to their work and follow public health orders and directives accordingly.  For the latest information, please visit

Electronic Social Work Services

As the situation with COVID-19 evolves, questions around electronic social work services continue to emerge. The electronic social work practice section on our website contains information for both social workers and clients -  

A self-assessment guide is also available to help social workers evaluate their practices in relation to informed consent.  This guide contains user friendly checklists that social workers can use in designing an informed consent template.  A checklist focused on technology use as it pertains to informed consent is included. The guide can be accessed by clicking here.

BMS, exclusive broker for the CASW’s Professional Liability Insurance Program, has also developed helpful resources regarding electronic practice including:

COVID-19 & Social Work Practice - Frequently Asked Questions

In response to member inquiries, a FAQ document has been developed.  It can be accessed by clicking here. It is a living document and will be updated as needed.  

Pandemic Preparedness: Reflecting on Competency

As the situation with COVID-19 continues to evolve, social workers may be deployed to another area of practice within their organization, and non-practicing and retired social workers may be called upon to register and assist during the pandemic. While the social work profession is known for its diversity, it is still important for all social workers to take a step back and reflect on their competency to engage in the
work.  Areas for consideration are highlighted in the NLCSW resource Pandemic Preparedness: Reflecting on Competency When Changing Area of Practice or Reentering Social Work Practice. 

Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) NL

The OIPC has developed a slide deck, "Don't Blame Privacy – What To Do and How To Communicate in an Emergency" to inform public bodies and custodians about information collection, use and disclosure in emergency situations. The slide deck has been updated since its initial release. The April 2020 updated version can be accessed by clicking here.

The OIPC has also released a privacy framework which outlines key privacy principles that should factor into any assessment of measures proposed by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to combat COVID-19. The document can be accessed by clicking here.

Mental Health Resources

There are various resources available to help protect your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Many community based organizations continue to provide mental health support during this pandemic.  Links to various community organizations can be found under the resources and links section of our website.

Sources of Information regarding COVID-19:

Please consult the following websites for the latest information: