COVID-19 AND PRIVATE PRACTICE OFFICE SPACES
The situation with COVID-19 continues to evolve daily. Detailed information regarding the 5-step alert system and its implications for social work private practice clinics is available at https://www.gov.nl.ca/covid-19/alert-system/.
Government and public health officials continue to advise of necessary public health measures, including physical distancing, hand washing, and use of personal protective equipment (including non-medical masks) to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Social workers in private practice must continue to stay informed of measures that pertain to their work. Information and updates pertaining to COVID-19 can be accessed on the Government of NL website at https://www.gov.nl.ca/covid-19/ .
Information regarding electronic social work practice along with additional resources can be found on NLCSW's COVID-19 resource page.
Private practice is defined as:
The provision of social work services, on a full time or part time basis, by a registered social worker who is self-employed, a member of a partnership/group practice, or independent contractor. Social workers in private practice are autonomous and responsible for the quality of social work services and ensuring compliance with the legislation, code of ethics and standards of practice. Services in private practice are provided on a fee for service model that is mutually agreed to by a client or third party (i.e., insurance company, employee assistance program, organization) or as set out in a contract.
Registered social workers in Newfoundland and Labrador are employed in diverse fields of practice and private practice continues to expand with social workers involved in a broad range of activities including, individual, couple, family and group therapy; assessments, education, facilitation and consultation, and responding to critical incidents and emergencies.
Social workers engaging in private practice must maintain active registration with NLCSW and professional liability insurance. Special professional liability insurance rates are available through the Canadian Association of Social Workers.
NLCSW also offers a voluntary roster for private practitioners. The voluntary roster is intended to increase public protection while promoting the private practice of social workers who meet the criteria of NLCSW’s Private Practice Policy.
NLCSW's Private Practice Roster
The roster is available for individuals wishing to engage the services of a social worker. Social workers listed here are registered with NLCSW and meet the criteria for registration as a private practitioner.
Resource Guide for Private Practice
Private practice is a professional and business venture. As entrepreneurs, social workers in private practice need to consider all of the business aspects of running an independent practice that would normally be handled by an employer (i.e., accounting practices, tax remittances, rental agreements, insurance, record storage and security, fee schedules, administrative tasks, etc.).
Social workers considering private practice are encouraged to develop a business plan, implement accounting practices, seek clarification regarding HST exempt services from the Canada Revenue Agency, and obtain insurance and legal consultation as appropriate.
The resource guide (updated April 2020) identifies some of the ethical and professional practice considerations for social workers engaged in private practice.