Ontario Social Workers to Boost Mental Health Services for Marginalized People

New funding will help Indigenous, Black, racialized, 2SLGBTQ+ and other marginalized populations

May 3, 2022, TORONTO, ON
— Ontario social workers will be offered expanded training to support the mental health of people hardest-hit by COVID-19, after the Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW) received funding from the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development.

Social workers will receive specialized training with the new funding to provide enhanced mental health care to marginalized groups, including Indigenous, Black, women, 2SLGBTQ+, youth, racialized people and those living with disabilities and existing mental health challenges.

“This is great news for some of the most marginalized people in the province,” said Dr. Deepy Sur, CEO of OASW. “We know that the pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on the mental health of members of these communities. This funding will allow us to deliver more culturally-appropriate care to more people.”

The training, which is also available to social service workers, will be provided through OASW. It will focus on delivering mental health care that considers an individual’s history, background, identities, and lived experiences, as well as the impact of systemic racism and discrimination on mental health.

“Social workers take a broad approach to treating mental health and addiction issues,” said Sur. “This also requires a deep commitment to understanding the needs of marginalized communities.”

The expanded training is funded by a $285,000 grant from Ontario’s Skills Development Fund, which will support expanded teaching, tools, accessibility requirements and more to 5,000 learners across Ontario.

“After more than two years in the pandemic, our government has a plan to rebuild Ontario and stay open, and we need to ensure no one is left behind,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “I’m proud to invest in the OASW program, which will provide vulnerable members of our community with specialized mental health supports they need to recover, building a stronger province for us all.”

The training will run from December 2022 until June 2023 and will be delivered through the OASW Learning Centre, a platform launched in 2020 to provide low-cost education to social workers, social service workers and social work students across the province. The OASW Learning Centre has provided training to more than 25,000 people since its inception.

Social workers are the largest group of mental health providers in Ontario. They are one of six regulated professions legally authorized to practice psychotherapy and use the title Psychotherapist. 

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About OASW
The Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW) is the voice of social work in Ontario. It is a voluntary, provincial, non-profit association representing over 8,000 members. All members have a university degree in social work at the bachelor, master, or doctoral level. OASW works to actively speak on behalf of social workers on issues of interest to the profession and advocates for the improvement of social policies and programs directly affecting social work practice and client groups served.

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