As the current situation continues to unfold related to COVID-19, OASW is committed to providing you with timely and relevant information on this topic, particularly when this information is connected to social work practice and those we serve.

Recommended Measures & Practices for Social Workers in Ontario

For up-to-date information on considerations for social work practice during COVID-19 and to view regional vaccination information as it becomes available, visit the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers’ COVID-19 Updates page.

Key Information on COVID-19

Ontario has a three-phase plan that prioritizes vaccines for those at greatest risk of severe illness and those who care for them. As vaccine supply is delivered across the province, public health units may have different vaccine administration rates based on local contexts. To learn more about COVID-19 vaccine eligibility and rollouts in your region, locate your local public health unit.

Visit the Government of Ontario’s COVID-19 page for the latest updates and information on what financial, mental health and other supports are available.

Public Health Ontario provides scientific and technical advice to the Ministry of Health, local public health units and other health system partners to support COVID-19 response efforts. To access multilingual COVID-19 resources, guidance and best practice documents by setting, information on health equity and more, visit: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) | Public Health Ontario.

The Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table is a group of scientific experts and health system leaders who evaluate and report on emerging evidence related to COVID-19, to inform Ontario’s response. The Table’s mandate is to provide weekly summaries of relevant evidence for the COVID-19 Health Coordination Table of the Province of Ontario. This is done through science briefs on topics such as infections disease, clinical care, health equity and the social determinants of health.

The Government of Canada has compiled a list of all benefits and services available to help individuals and businesses facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. You can visit the Government of Canada’s website to learn more about which benefits and services may apply to you and your unique circumstances.

Education and Resources

We are pleased to offer free webinars for Registered Social Workers and Registered Social Service Workers through the OASW Learning Centre (OLC). Scheduled and on-demand webinars are available on a wide range of topics, including managing burnout, trauma, and supporting families through COVID-19. Register Today. Learn More.

Given the impacts of COVID-19 on in-person care, many organizations are now delivering services virtually. However, the pandemic has highlighted ongoing gaps in access to technology that can act as barriers to equitable engagement in virtual care. See below for a list of programs and services offering free to low-cost devices, access to the internet, and education on digital literacy.

OASW has also been calling for an immediate and critical increase to social assistance rates. See our 2021 Pre-Budget Submission to learn more.

  • Computers for Success Canada & The Connecting Families Initiative (Province-wide): As part of the Government of Canada’s digital skills, accessibility, and internet programs, the Connecting Families initiative addresses internet affordability for low-income Canadian families. In partnership with leading Canadian internet service providers (ISPs), the initiative offers a $10 monthly internet plan to selected eligible families. Additionally, up to 50,000 free refurbished computers are being made available. In Ontario, this program is administered through Renewed Computer Technology.
  • Connected for Success (Province-wide): Connected for Success offers high-speed, low-cost internet across Ontario to subsidized tenants, seniors, families with children and to individuals receiving disability and income support. This includes free installation, free modem rental and unlimited data.
  • Telus Mobility for Good Program (Province-wide): Provides Canadian youth aging out of care and seniors living in low-income with a subsidized plan at $25/month (plus applicable taxes), which includes digital literacy support, free refurbished smartphones, unlimited talk and text nationwide, and 3GB of data per month.
  • Frontline Connect (Province-wide): Provides hospitals, hospices and long-term care facilities with donated phones and tablets to be given to patients or shared with healthcare workers to facilitate connections with patients and families.
  • reBoot Canada (Greater Toronto Area): reBOOT Canada is a registered charity, with the primary purpose of making the internet and digital tools accessible to under-served communities and individuals across Canada.
  • Care Through Tech (Hamilton, ON): The Care Through Tech initiative is a used technology drive supplying technology to vulnerable populations, such as people living in isolation centers, sheltered homes, and subsidized housing in the Hamilton area.
  • Computers for Kids (Windsor, ON): A registered charity dedicated to transforming unwanted computers into educational tools for children in need. Computers are provided to families through referring agencies in the Windsor-Essex region.

Find A Social Worker: Online directory of social workers in private practice in Ontario.

Free Internet-Based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (iCBT) in Ontario:

Telephone, Text & Live Chat Programs:

Support for Providers:

  • Your Health SpaceA free workplace mental health service for Ontario’s health care organizations, developed by the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario Division
  • Self-Referral for Mental Health Care: The Ministry of Health and Ontario Health partnered with five hospitals to provide services for frontline health care workers. Visit their website hosted by CAMH for additional resources including tips on self-care during COVID-19.
  • For the Frontlines: Free, confidential crisis counselling for healthcare and essential workers. Text FRONTLINE for support in dealing with anxiety, stress, fear, isolation, or other difficult emotions you are experiencing during COVID-19.
  • ECHO Coping with COVID-19: Weekly group designed for healthcare providers and health professions students responding to the COVID-19 pandemic to share and learn about ways to build resilience and overall wellness.

PROLINK, the endorsed broker for OASW’s Professional Insurance program, has developed a COVID-19 Risk Management Guide to assist social workers in learning more about telemedicine as a channel for continuity of care and to understand best practices and risks connected to this from a liability lens.

OASW and PROLINK have also made the following webinars available to watch on-demand:

PROLINK also offers discounted services to OASW Members designed to manage risk and liability, including Professional Liability Insurance, Data Security and Privacy Breach Insurance, and a new library of legal document templates. Learn more.

In order to help the health system respond to the additional pressures created by COVID-19, HealthForceOntario is looking for health care providers who may be working part-time and want to increase their hours, as well as former health care workers who are retired, or on inactive status with their regulatory college and are prepared to return to work. Social workers have been specifically identified as a target group.

The Canadian Red Cross is looking for individuals in all provinces across Canada with professional certification in the mental health field to join their Mental Health & Psychosocial Support Roster during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

SPARK Ontario provides a central location to seek and post volunteer positions in Ontario during COVID-19. Help seniors, people with disabilities, and the most vulnerable stay connected and healthy as they self-isolate and more.