Accreditation

The Commission on Accreditation (COA) is responsible for the accreditation of Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work degree programs inCanada. The CASWE-ACFTS Standards for Accreditation and Procedures for Accreditation are based on the educational policies, standards and procedures adopted by the CASWE-ACFTS Board of Directors.

The COA is  composed of a maximum of fifteen (15) social work faculty/educators from across Canada and is jointly chaired by a Francophone member and an Anglophone member. The COA is supported in their work by the Accreditation Coordinator who is based out of the CASWE-ACFTS Office located in Ottawa.

The CASWE-ACFTS Standards for Accreditation outline the Principles and Standards guiding the Accreditation of Bachelor and Master of Social Work programs in Canada, including the core learning objectives for students. The CASWE-ACFTS Procedures for Accreditation outlines the accreditation process (including details on deadlines and due dates), specify the types of accreditation, and provide an explanation of the reconsideration and appeal process. It also clarifies financial responsibility for the accreditation process, defines conflict of interest, identifies confidentiality issues, student relations, and the Commission on Accreditation (COA) responsibilities.

CASWE-ACFTS is the accreditation body for Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and Master of Social Work (MSW) programs in Canada. The Association’s Commission on Accreditation (COA) oversees the process and is comprised of social work educators from all parts of Canada.

EDUCATIONAL POLICIES & ACCREDITATION STANDARDS (EPAS) 2021

In April 2021, the CASWE-ACFTS Board of Directors approved the 2021
Educational Policies and Accreditation Standards (EPAS). The
Commission on Accreditation has recommended a transitional period of
two years, during which Schools of Social Work can choose either
the 2014 Accreditation Standards or the 2021 Educational Policies and
Accreditation Standards. This transitional period will be effective from
July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2023. The COA will use the set of Standards
chosen by the school of social work when assessing their program(s). When submitting the Self-Study Report, the school of social work will need to clearly identify whether they have selected the 2014 or the 2021 standards.

Effective July 1, 2023, all schools of social work will be expected to use
the 2021 Educational Policies and Accreditation Standards in their
reporting and expected to comply with these Standards.

The Commission on Accreditation will be reviewing the Procedures for
Accreditation and inform membership of the changes once the revision has
been completed. Please also consider Briefing Note #5, which was
submitted by the Educational Policy Committee along with the EPAS.

For more information regarding the COA, accreditation or accredited
programs, please contact our Accreditation Coordinator, Marie-Christine Bois.

Commissioners

The Commission on Accreditation (COA) is composed of a maximum of fifteen (15) members, all of whom are social work educators from all parts of Canada. The Terms of office are normally three years, renewable twice. The COA is co-chaired by one Francophone and one Anglophone member. Current COA members are listed below.

Ginette Berteau

Francophone Co-chair
École de travail social, Université du Québec à Montréal

Grant Charles

Anglophone Co-chair
School of Social Work, University of British Columbia

Jason Albert

Department of Indigenous Education, Health and Social Work, First Nations University of Canada

Laura Beres

School of Social Work, King’s University College at Western University

Susan Burke

UNBC School of social Work

Jill Grant

University of Windsor

Roy Hanes

School of Social Work, Carleton University

Elizabeth Harper

Université du Québec à Montréal

Sheri McConnell

Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador

Anne-Marie McLaughlin

University of Calgary

Dominique Mercure

École de service social, Université Laurentienne

Raymond Neckoway

School of Social Work, Lakehead University

Elda Savoie

École de travail social, Université de Moncton

Commission on Accreditation

The COA is composed of a maximum of 15 members who serve as Commissioners, and a staff member who serves as the Accreditation Coordinator. The Terms of Office for Commissioners is normally three years, and is renewable twice. The COA is co- chaired by one Francophone and one Anglophone member. Interested in joining the COA? We share calls with our membership to join the COA as positions become available. Check back back regularly for these postings.with 

Laura Beres
Laura Béres

School of Social Work, King’s University College at Western University

Interim Anglophone Co-chair
School of Social Work, King’s University College at Western University

Susan Burke
Susan Burke

University of Northern British Columbia 
School of social Work

member
Elizabeth Harper

École de travail social 
Université du Québec à Montréal

Sheri McConnell
Sheri McConnell

School of Social Work
Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador

Elda Savoie
Elda Savoie

École de travail social
Université de Moncton

member
Anne-Marie McLaughlin

Faculty of Social Work
University of Calgary

member
Jacquie Green

School of Social Work
University of Victoria

Marie Drolet

École de service social
Université d’Ottawa

member
Susan Scott

School of Social Work
Lakehead University 

Eileen McKee photo by Harry Choi 2021 002
Eileen McKee

Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work
University of Toronto 

Lorry Ann Austin
Lorry-Ann Austin

Thompson Rivers University

member
Ariane Julien

Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue

Jason 23
Jason Albert

Department of Indigenous Education, Health and Social Work, First Nations University of Canada

Ginette Berteau
Ginette Berteau

Francophone Co-chair
École de travail social, Université du Québec à Montréal

Normand Brodeur TSC
Normand Brodeur

École de travail social et de criminologie
Université Laval

Frequently Asked Questions

CASWE-ACFTS is the accreditation body for Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and Master of Social Work (MSW) programs in Canada.

The Educational Policies and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) are developed by the , and approved by the Board of Directors. The core of the Educational Policy Committee is composed of two members of the CASWE-ACFTS Board of Directors, two members of the Commission on Accreditation, two members of the Canadian Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work and two members of the Thunderbird Circle – Indigenous Social Work Educators Network. The EPAS guide the accreditation of programs in Canada, through standards that programs need to comply with to obtain and maintain their accreditation. The EPAS ensure a certain uniformity among social work programs in Canada, while allowing enough flexibility to respect the different contexts in which programs operate and the uniqueness of each program.

The Commission on Accreditation (COA) is comprised of social work educators from all parts of Canada. The EPAS guide the work of the COA, and the development of programs. The COA oversees the accreditation process, assessing programs’ compliance with the EPAS, and providing support to social work academic units.

Accreditation cycles are usually 8 years. The process of accreditation involves a Self-Study Report in which the academic unit demonstrates compliance with the EPAS, a review of the Self-Study Report by the COA, and a site visit. When a program does not meet all the standards, conditions are attached to the accreditation, in which case the program has additional reporting to the COA for reviewing. For more details on the accreditation process, see the see the , see the Procedures for Accreditation.

Below are frequently asked questions about accredited programs.

Accredited Programs

We encourage students to research programs to identify their needs and priorities pertaining to personal and professional development and goals. Diligent research is an important step in ensuring the program of interest is best suitable for your long-term needs, learning goals, and overall expectations.

The CASWE-ACFTS online Directory of Accredited Programs is a good starting point to research programs: https://caswe-acfts.ca/our-activities/accreditation/. This may help you with your research to narrow your program options. You can follow the legend on the website, click on the name of the university that interests you, and it will take you to the Faculty/School of Social Work webpage where you can learn more about the specificities of their program.

Each CASWE-ACFTS accredited program has been assessed by the Commission on Accreditation using the applicable accreditation standards at the time of their last accreditation. Which program is best for you is a personal choice, based on your priorities, needs, professional goals and specificities of the program. All programs have their own strengths, particularities, and in some cases, areas of focus. We encourage everyone to thoroughly research available programs to find the best fit for them.

A program can lose its accreditation if there are major deficiencies in the program and it is no longer in compliance with the CASWE-ACFTS Educational Policies and Accreditation Standards. If it is the case, students who graduate from the program after it has lost its accreditation will not be graduates of an accredited program. The program must inform students if this it loses its accreditation.

While this possibility can happen, it is a rare occurrence and quite unlikely.

Graduates who obtained their degree prior to a program losing its accreditation remain graduates from an accredited program.

Some programs offer distance learning options, or hybrid learning options. You can use the legend on the Directory of Accredited Programs (https://caswe-acfts.ca/our-activities/accreditation/) to identify which universities offer distance learning, click on the name of the university that interests you, and it will take you to the Faculty/School of Social Work webpage where you can learn more about distance learning option.

Admission policies and criteria fall under the responsibility of the academic unit, and CASWE-ACFTS cannot provide any specific information on this. The CASWE-ACFTS Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards require programs to have a clear and accessible admission policy, as well as credit recognition policy. Any question related to a program’s policies should be directed to the Academic Unit in which the program is offered.

We do not accredit doctoral programs. Any questions related to doctoral programs need to be directed to the respective Social Work Academic Unit.

However, for convenience and help potential students locate social work doctoral programs, we have included them to our Directory of Accredited Programs: https://caswe-acfts.ca/members/accredited-universities/

Some MSW programs are open to students who do not have a BSW degree. In these situations that program involves a foundational year.

Referring to the CASWE-ACFTS Educational Policies and Accreditation Standards:

SM 3.2.2 Students with a university baccalaureate degree in another discipline or from a nonaccredited social work program may be admitted to an MSW program or a premaster/qualifying program. The curriculum for students admitted without a BSW degree from a CASWE-ACFTS accredited program or equivalent accredited program includes:

    1. A foundational component equivalent to the content of the BSW curriculum including at least 6 one semester courses or equivalent and a field education practicum of at least 450 hours; and
    2. An advanced component in accordance with the MSW curriculum as outlined in AS 3.2.1. The design of the foundational component varies in accordance with the regulations for graduate study of the parent university (e.g. a qualifying year, a premaster in social work, or a two-year MSW program).

The design of the foundational component varies in accordance with the regulations for graduate study of the parent university (e.g., a qualifying year, a premaster in social work, or a two-year MSW program).

Our Directory of Accredited Programs does not list programs that offer an MSW foundational year or that are accessible to students who do not have a BSW degree. We encourage you to research your program of choice for more information, starting by visiting the Academic Unit webpage, which you can access by clicking the name of the universities that interest you on our Directory of Accredited Programs.

There is nothing in the CASWE-ACFTS Educational Policies and Accreditation Standards that prevents a placement to be paid. However, when this is the case, the focus of the day-to-day activities need to be oriented towards learning versus productivity and efficiency expected in a workplace setting.

Ultimately, it is up to each program to determine if they allow a paid placement or not; they may choose not to do so for many reasons, including equity (i.e., some students get a paid placement while others do not).

Pre-Accreditation Status

Pre-Accreditation Status means that a program (BSW or MSW) within a Social Work Academic Unit (School, Faculty, etc.) is in the process of obtaining their First Accreditation. This is an intensive process in which the Commission on Accreditation works closely with the Academic Unit to ensure their program meets the Educational Policies and Accreditation Standards when it is time to apply for First Accreditation. If you graduate from a program that currently has Pre-Accreditation Status, and the program attains First Accreditation status, the program is retroactively granted accreditation for the Pre-Accreditation period, meaning that your degree is from an accredited program. If, for some reasons, the program is not granted First Accreditation, then your degree will not be from an accredited program (this situation is very unlikely, considering the process described above).

New programs that want to be accredited first need to apply for Pre-Accreditation. The period of Pre-Accreditation is usually four years. The program must apply for First Accreditation in its fourth year of Pre-Accreditation. The purpose of Pre-Accreditation is to provide programs additional support during that period, so when it is time to apply for First Accreditation, the program will be in compliance with the Educational Policies and Accreditation Standards. During this period, there is an ongoing exchange between the Commission on Accreditation and the program, where feedback is provided to work towards meeting the Educational Policies and Accreditation Standards.

Although widely recognized by regulatory bodies, potential students are encouraged to check with the regulatory body in their province regarding their eligibility for registration.

Non-Accredited Programs

If an institution is not listed on our website under the list of accredited programs, it means that the program is not currently a CASWE-ACFTS accredited program.

The list is updated following each Commission on Accreditation meeting to reflect new accredited or pre-accredited programs.

The CASWE-ACFTS Educational Policies and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) provide guidelines for social work education in Canada. These EPAS have been developed and are recognized by the Canadian social work education community, identify learning objectives for students, and integrate principles such as human rights and social justice into the social work education process. The CASWE-ACFTS accreditation process aims to promote excellence in social work education, scholarship, and practice with a social justice focus. Accreditation ensures that a program has been assessed by the Commission on Accreditation as compliant with the EPAS, through a rigorous accreditation process.

CASWE-ACFTS cannot comment on the quality of a program that is not accredited and cannot determine if such program is in compliance (or not) with the EPAS as it has not undergone the accreditation process.

Graduating from a social work program that is not accredited may impact your ability to register with the social work regulatory body in certain province (check directly with them about their eligibility criteria). In addition, graduating from a non-accredited BSW program may have an impact on admission to some MSW programs.

We encourage you to check with the regulatory body in the province you want to practice in to inquire if the program you are considering is recognized for registration/licensing. Some provinces might recognize such programs, while others may not. 

Some programs are not currently eligible for accreditation based on the criteria identified in the Procedures for Accreditation. Mostly, this is due to those programs being in hosted in institutions that are not members of Universities Canada. The CASWE-ACFTS has developed criteria and a process for such program to apply for accreditation in the coming years (application starting in 2024).

Foreign Degrees

Yes, CASWE-ACFTS has a mutual degree recognition agreement with the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) stating that degrees from CASWE-ACFTS and CSWE accredited BSW and MSW programs are considered equivalent.

However, CASWE-ACFTS does not play a role in the registration of individual social workers post-graduation. Graduates should contact the social work regulatory body in the province they are intending to practice to inquire about registration/licensing criteria and process, if they apply for registration/licensure with a CSWE accredited degree.

Refer to the CSWE directory for a list of CSWE accredited programs: https://www.cswe.org/. Any questions regarding CSWE accredited program should be sent to CSWE. CASWE-ACFTS cannot answer questions related to CSWE accredited programs.

CASWE-ACFTS does not accredit social work programs outside of Canada nor does it play a role in assessing internationally trained social workers.

In Canada, social work graduates wishing to use the title of “social worker” in their professional practice must register or obtain a license to practice with the social work regulatory body in the province they intend to practice (as an example, this would be the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers in the province of Ontario).

The Canadian Association for Social Worker (CASW) is the Canadian organization responsible for evaluating foreign Social Work degrees for equivalency. They have a well-established process to assess foreign social work credentials. CASW assessments are recognized by all provincial/territorial regulatory bodies, with the exception of the provinces of British Columbia and Quebec, which have their own processes for evaluating foreign degrees.

For more information on the CASW Assessment of International Credential, visit their website: https://www.casw-acts.ca/en/what-we-do/assessment-international-credentials

If you complete a BSW in another country and intend to apply to a graduate program in Canada, the specific university admissions’ office determines whether the degree is recognized by their university. This may involve having your degree assess for equivalency by the Canadian Association of Social Workers (see above). Please refer and direct your questions to your relevant social work education institution. If your BSW is not recognized as equivalent to a Canadian accredited BSW degree, you can still apply to an MSW program that offers admission without a BSW degree. See this question for more details: I do not have BSW, can I apply for an MSW?

CASWE-ACFTS only accredits programs in Canada, and we do not play a role in assessment or accreditation of international programs. Likewise, we do not keep a list of accredited programs in other countries.

We suggest inquiring with the organization responsible for accrediting social work programs within your country of interest.

To inquire about working with an international agree, please contact the social work regulatory body in the province you intend to practice. Refer to the Canadian Association of Social Workers regarding the assessment of international credential: https://www.casw-acts.ca/en/what-we-do/assessment-international-credentials.

Directory of CASWE-ACFTS Accredited Programs

Directory of CASWE-ACFTS Accredited Programs

Here is the most recently updated version of the Accreditation Directory, which presents current and historical periods of accreditation for CASWE-ACFTS accredited social work programs. This directory is updated twice a year, following the Commission on Accreditation meetings.

Accreditation Directory 09-2023

List of Accredited Programs

There are currently 44 schools/faculties/departments/modules in Canada that offer CASWE-ACFTS accredited programs; some providing a BSW program, a MSW program or both. All universities that offer CASWE-ACFTS accredited social work program(s) are listed below. You can click on the links to learn more about their specific social work program(s).

LEGEND:
1. Bachelor Program – Programme de Baccalauréat
2. Master Program – Programme de Maitrise
3. Ph.D Program – Programme de Doctorat
4. Distance Education Available – Formation à distance disponible
5. French and English Programs available – Programme disponible en français et en anglais
6. French Program – Programme en français
7. English Program – Programme en anglais
8. Preaccreditation BSW – Préagrément BTS
9. Preaccreditation MSW – Préagrément MTS

Algoma University 1 7

Carleton University 1 2 3 7

Dalhousie University 1 2 4 7

First Nations University of Canada 1 7

King’s University College (Western University) 1 2 7

Lakehead University 1 2 7

Laurentian University/Université Laurentienne 1 2 4 5

Laurentian University School of Indigenous Relations 1 7

MacEwan University 1 7

McGill University 1 2 3 7

McMaster University 1 2 3 7

Memorial University of Newfoundland 1 2 3 7

Mount Royal University  8

Nicola Valley Institute of Technology 1 7

Nipissing University  8

Renison University College, University of Waterloo 1 2 4 7

St. Thomas University 1 7 9

Thompson Rivers University 1 4 7

Toronto Metropolitan University 1 2 7

Trent University 1 7

Université d’Ottawa 1 2 3 6

Université de Moncton 1 2 6

Université de Montréal 1 2 3 6

Mutual Recognition of Accredited Degrees

Agreement of Mutual Recognition of Accredited Degrees The Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE-ACFTS) has mutual degree recognition agreements with the National Indigenous Accreditation Board (NIAB) on Turtle Island and the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) in the United-States.

List of NIAB accredited programs

First Nations Technical Institute (in candidacy) 
Maskwacis Cultural College
UnBQ – University nuxełhot’įne thaaɁehots’į nistameyimâkanak Blue Quills
Red Crow Community College
Yellowhead Tribal College

Directory of Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Accredited Programs (USA) 

International Degrees
If you choose to study in another country, or have a degree from another country and wish to work as a social worker in Canada, you must have your degree assessed by the Canadian Association for Social Workers (CASW) for equivalency in order to register with a provincial social work regulatory body. CASW provides the assessment service for provincial / territorial member organizations except in the provinces of British Columbia and Quebec.

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