NLCSW 2021-2024 Strategic Plan

Communication regarding NLCSW's 2021-24 Strategic Plan is ongoing and intended to illustrate the important linkage between the plan and the ongoing work of NLCSW.


A key part of the plan was the expansion of the values section. While these values have long been a part of NLCSW, the 2021-24 plan articulates how these values play out each day through NLCSW's actions, processes, partnerships, and relationships. As detailed in the January 2022 edition of Connecting Voices, NLCSW's Executive Director and Registrar, Lisa Crockwell, explored the four values and how they shape NLCSW's approach to regulation.

Strategic Goals

Regulatory Leadership

  • Enhance Social Work Regulation and the Registration Process Through Continuous Quality Review. Some of the key actions/activities that stem from this include:
    • Electronic Practice: The NLCSW website has a section dedicated to electronic practice and continues to produce practice resources on this topic. One of the areas identified in the 2021-24 plan was a need to address the increased volume of practice approval requests received from registered social workers from other Canadian jurisdictions looking to engage in electronic social work practice with residents in NL. Given the increasing volume, administrative resources required, and the trends in other provinces, the NLCSW Board of Directors approved the introduction of an annual practice approval fee effective March 1, 2022 for this target group.
    • Update My CPE Quality Improvements: Since its introduction in 2018, the use of this CPE tracking feature has continued to expand and with the introduction of the streamlined version as part of 2022 renewal, NLCSW hopes to see even more uptake amongst the membership.
    • Review the Registration Process Through a Cultural Competency Lens: Over the course of this strategic plan, a review of the registration process will be undertaken.  The first phase of this process will be working with the Canadian Council of Social Work Regulators and a reference group who have lived expertise to develop a national framework to guide the review.
  • Advance the Professional Conduct Review (PCR) Process Through Ongoing Evaluation. The following highlights key activities in relation to this objective:
    • Accessibility of PCR Process: Beginning in 2022, NLCSW implemented surveys of complainants and respondents involved with the PCR process to obtain feedback on what is going well and to identify areas for improvement.
    • Training for Complaints Authorization Committees (CACs) and Disciplinary Panel: NLCSW will continue to provide ongoing training and debriefing for all CACs, Disciplinary Panel members, and investigators to ensure consistency and efficiency in processes and decision making. More information regarding the composition and role of the various parties involved in the PCR process can be found at Complaints Review Process | NLCSW
    • Develop a Risk Assessment Tool for Allegations Against Practice: A risk assessment tool has been developed and will be utilized by the CAC to assist in decision making by allowing them to complete a formal risk assessment of all allegations, with matters determined to be of higher risk prioritized.
  • Collaborate with Other Organizations Towards Regulatory Excellence. NLCSW advances this objective through our involvement with the Health Regulators Network of NL, Canadian Council of Social Work Regulators, Association of Social Work Boards, and the International Federation of Social Work Regulators.
  • Focus on Achieving Excellence in Regulatory Governance. Examples of activities that fall under this objective include:
    • Exploring Tools to Monitor Board Engagement and Knowledge: The NLCSW Board of Directors is responsible for governance as well as complaints authorization functions. Over the course of this strategic plan, staff will collaborate with the dedicated board volunteers to ensure they have the tools needed to function at an optimal level.
    • Enhance Board Orientation by Offering Additional Sessions: The current orientation process for all new board members is designed to provide an informed foundation for the work ahead. Offering additional sessions, which could include a mix of both seasoned and new board members, has been identified as a tangible activity as part of NLCSW's focus on achieving excellence in regulatory governance.

Practice Excellence

  • Provide Leadership in the Development of Practice Resources. Examples of activities that fall under this objective include:
    • Comprehensive Review of Key NLCSW Practice Resources:  Over the course of this strategic plan, three main documents were identified for review. Thus far, the Technology Use in Social Work Practice (Explanatory Document) has been revised to reflect its standing as a companion document to NLCSW's Standards of Practice. Key revisions found in the updated document include the addition of a best practice pertaining to respect and professionalism as it relates to electronic mediums and online boundaries, as well as more guidance pertaining to the use of technology to advance social justice, advocacy, and political action. Work continues on the Child Custody and Access Assessment Explanatory Document and the Complementary and Adjunct Therapies and Techniques Guideline Document.
    • Ongoing Expansion of Practice Matters, Documentation Matters, and Ethical Compass Series: Regular editions of these publications continue to be released. These interpretative documents are intended to provide information, clarification, and commentary on professional and ethical issues in social work practice.
  • Support the Continuing Competency of Social Workers. There are a variety of activities happening to advance this objective. Some examples include:
    • Embracing Excellence Educational Series: As noted in NLCSW's 2021-22 Annual Report, 19 hours of CPE were offered under this series in the last registration year.  Since March, 10.5 hours in CPE offerings have been accumulated. Planning for CPE to be offered in the fall is also well underway. Feedback indicates that registrants appreciate the diversity of topics covered as part of this series and the availability of the webinar recordings through NLCSW's YouTube channel.
    • Continue to Promote and Offer CPE Funding: CPE funding is available through both NLCSW and the Canadian Association of Social Workers. Funding promotion is done through NLCSW's various communication channels including the monthly electronic Update which is emailed to all NLCSW registrants and non-practicing members, as well as NLCSW's twitter account and website
  • Promote Expertise, Diversity, and Leadership in Social Work Practice. Examples of activities under this objective include:
    • Review, Update and Expand Use of Did You Know Fact Sheets and Showcasing Social Work Video Series: There are currently 28 fact sheets that are part of the Did You Know series. The fact sheets provide detailed information about the role of social work in diverse practice settings. The video series is a new initiative with 4 videos currently available to share and inspire.
    • Publication of Connecting Voices: The latest edition of Connecting Voices was released in July 2022 and work has already begun on the next edition.
  • Advance the Social Determinants of Health Through a Social Justice Framework. Key activities stemming from this objective include:
    • Development of a Advocacy Guideline Document for Social Workers: NLCSW released a Health and Social Policy Advocacy Guideline Document for Social Workers in September 2022. This is a valuable guide for social workers to use in their work to enhance the health and well-being of individuals, families, groups, and communities.
    • Participate in Provincial Government's Social and Economic Well-Being Plan: NLCSW provided a written submission in September 2022 in response to government's invitation for feedback. Access the full submission at Social_and_Economic_Well-Being_Plan_Written_Submission.pdf
    • Annual Pre-Budget Submission: A detailed summary of previous pre-budget submissions can be accessed under the following link - Health and Social Policy | NLCSW. Reinforced throughout these submissions is the importance of the social determinants of health framework when developing health and social policies. 

Stakeholder Engagement

  • Promote an Understanding of Social Work Regulation and NLCSW's Role. Key activities to further this objective include:
    • Strengthening Linkages with Employers Regarding Social Work Regulation: Education sessions with employers  focused on NLCSW's Professional Conduct Review processes, registration, and quality assurance have played an important role in furthering the above objective.
    • Electronic Communication Targeted to Employers: Similar to the monthly electronic update which is targeted to NLCSW registrants and non-practicing members, the Employer Update is targeted to social work employers and released quarterly. 
    • Working with Social Work Students: In addition to communication via the NLCSW Student Update, NLCSW hosts an annual education session for BSW graduating students which provides an overview of social work regulation,  NLCSW's practice resources, and the registration/renewal process. 
    • Leverage Communication Tools for Mandate Clarification: The ongoing communication regarding NLCSW's Strategic Plan has been designed to provide clarification regarding the type of activities that support NLCSW's public protection mandate. The Spotlight on Social Work Regulation Series represents another tool to promote an understanding of social work regulation as well as NLCSW's role.  Some examples of questions explored as part of this series include -
      • What is the difference between a regulatory body, such as NLCSW, and a union?
      • Can social workers in NL use Registered Clinical Social Worker or Licensed Clinical Social Worker to promote the clinical nature of their work?
  • Engage in Continuous Evaluation of Communication Strategies: NLCSW recognizes the linkage between effective stakeholder engagement and the ongoing evaluation of communication strategies. This is illustrated in the following examples:
    • NLCSW Website: The website is a vital communication tool and is consistently updated and evaluated to ensure it continues to provide relevant, accessible, and clear communication to all stakeholders including the public, registrants, and social work employers. While NLCSW staff ensure the website remains current, it is also important to recognize that in both the digital and regulatory worlds, much has changed and evolved since the current version of the website was launched back in 2016. Website content will be evaluated through this lens as we move into 2023.
    • Social Media Platforms: NLCSW also continues to evaluate social media platforms that are currently utilized including Twitter and YouTube while exploring other platforms that may also provide a suitable avenue for communication.
  • Enhance Public Engagement: NLCSW's website is one tool that is being utilized to enhance public engagement. As noted above, the website is continually updated and evaluated to ensure the information provided is relevant, accessible, and clear. Specific information for members of the public in relation to private practice and electronic social work services is currently available on the website. As we move into 2023, website content will be further assessed to ensure it continues to meet the needs of all stakeholders, including members of the public.
  • Collaborate to Advance the Diversity and Scope of Social Work: This is the last objective under the strategic goal of Stakeholder Engagement. Some of the main actions/activities that stem from this objective includes:
    • Engaging with Government Regarding Recommendations for Social Workers in Schools: NLCSW remains committed to exploring the valuable role social workers could play in the K-12 education system and dialogue remains open with the Department of Education.
    • Social Worker Workforce Model: NLCSW, along with representatives from the Regional Health Authorities, the Department of Children, Seniors and Social Development, Public Service Commission, public sector unions, and Memorial University School of Social Work worked collaboratively with the Department of Health and Community Services to develop a comprehensive workforce model.