The Newfoundland and Labrador College of Social Workers (NLCSW) is the regulatory body for social work in Newfoundland and Labrador. While social work has been a regulated profession in this province since 1992, historical milestones in advancing professional regulation in the public interest are important to highlight.
Newfoundland Branch of the CASW is Formed
The Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) was founded in 1926 to advocate for social justice and build a network of social workers from across Canada. Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949, and in 1951 a small group of social workers came together to organize the Newfoundland Branch of the CASW. While membership in the Newfoundland Branch remained small through the formative years, a small group of social workers worked diligently to carry out of the work of the CASW on a local level.
Newfoundland Association of Social Workers is Incorporated
In 1956, CASW was incorporated and new by-laws allowed for the formation of provincial organizations. While the Newfoundland Branch struggled with low membership numbers, it continued to focus on recruitment and in 1970, the Newfoundland Branch was incorporated. With incorporation, the Newfoundland Association of Social Workers (NASW) was established. The NASW advocated for social work regulation as the need for accountability and ethics in practice was highlighted.
Act for Voluntary Registration
In 1979, a bill was put forth in the house of assembly regarding social work regulation. The Act to Provide for the Registration of Qualified Social Workers (voluntary registration only) was passed in the house, and a Board of Registration was appointed. However, regulations were not approved by the Minister and the Act was never enacted.
NASW Transitioned to a Regulatory Body
The advocacy efforts of the NASW were successful and on June 11, 1992, the Social Workers Association Act received Royal Assent and was proclaimed on September 1st, 1993. At this time, the NASW became the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Social Workers (NLASW). Regulation over the use of the title social worker and scope of practice became a legislative function of the NLASW.
On January 1, 2020 an amendment to the Social Workers Act to include Quality Assurance provisions and a duty to report came into effect.
New Name for the Social Work Regulatory Body
On September 30, 2020, the NLASW was officially renamed the Newfoundland and Labrador College of Social Workers. While the name changed, the mandate and activities to support the mandate remained the same. NLCSW continues to operate in the public interest, and for over a quarter of a century the organization has remained committed to advancing and promoting ethical and professional social work practice.