Social workers’ greatest strength and greatest responsibility is the Power to Empower: from helping communities organize and move through change, to planning and delivering social programs, as well as responding to crisis on the front lines, social workers promote mental health, support families, and engage with communities for a better Canada. Celebrated each year in March, this year’s National Social Work Month comes at a time marked by change and uncertainty.
Social workers throughout our history have been at the forefront of movements for social change and human rights; movements that, without vigilance, could now begin to erode. More than ever, it is social workers’ responsibility to use the power derived from working in solidarity to protect, advocate, and stand alongside those whose rights may come under threat.
Equipped with a Code of Ethics that honours self-determination and the elimination of barriers between service user and clinician, education that fosters empathy and humility, and a community of peers who believe deeply in the inherent power of social justice, social workers are ideally positioned to help Canadians successfully overcome the challenges ahead.
Social workers know not only the power of therapeutic relationships, but also the power of consciousness raising and social justice. Most of all, social workers know the changes that can take place when individuals and communities are empowered through self-determination and respect.
During this time of great political change, in which many feel unsafe or overlooked, social work is the profession that pursues social justice as a key tenet of practice.
Jan Christianson-Wood, MSW, RSW
Dixon Sookraj, PhD
Lynn Labrecque King, MSW, RSW
CASWE-ACFTS is a bilingual, Canadian association with a social justice focus that promotes excellence in social work education, practice and scholarly activities. It does this through the enrichment of social work education, the accreditation of social work educational programs in Canada, advocacy, research, publication, consultation and collaboration at both Canadian and international levels.
The Canadian Council of Social Work Regulators (CCSWR) represents provincial/territorial social work regulatory authorities in Canada.
The Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) is the national professional association. CASW promotes and strengthens the profession, supports its members, and advances issues of social justice.