OASW and its School Social Work Advisory Group are pleased to present the School Social Work Symposium, Affirming Identities: Tools for Student Mental Wellness in the COVID Era, happening Tuesday, November 15, 2022, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. online. 

KEYNOTE | The Moth and the Stars: Culture, Identity, and Affirmation | Bee Quammie 

Bee Quammie is a multi-passionate creative, writer and award-winning digital content creator who shares stories and connects with others on mental and brain health, resilience, diversity and pop culture. Bee's keynote will centre on the stories that often aren’t told, providing space where the audiences can learn, be empowered, and find a relatable voice. Based in Bee's personal journeys through childhood, motherhood, and work in healthcare and media, this talk will offer audiences new ways to recognize the importance of identity affirmation and cultural competence in social work and beyond.

Artistic Presentation: Randell Adjei

Randell Adjei is an entrepreneur, speaker and spoken word practitioner who was recently appointed Ontario’s first Poet Laureate. Randell is the founder of one of Toronto's largest youth led initiatives, Reaching Intelligent Souls Everywhere (R.I.S.E Edutainment). Randell is the author of “I am Not my struggles,” a powerful anthology released in 2018. Randell was also named CBC’s Metro Morning’s Torontonian of the Year in 2015 and NOW Magazine’s Local Hero in May 2017. In 2020, Randell opened for President Barack Obama at the Economic Club of Canada.

PANEL | Identities at the Forefront: How to Put Inclusion into Action in our Schools

Join us for an insightful panel discussion exploring practical tips and tools to support mental health among primary and secondary school students in Ontario. Panelists will discuss how to effectively support diverse student identities in culturally safe and responsive ways, while considering what this means in 2022 as students return to classrooms. Expert panelists will explore themes such as how to bring identity into the conversation; intersections between identity and perceived ‘behavioral challenges’ in the classroom; collaborations across settings (schools, hospitals and the community); and practices and tools that are appropriate and effective with diverse student identities.



9:00 to 9:30 a.m.
Opening Ceremony and Remarks from OASW and the School Social Work Advisory Group (SSWAG)

  • Tracey Grose, SSWAG Chair
  • Deepy Sur, OASW CEO
  • Tina Armstrong, Elder, Bearskin Lake First Nation

9:30 to 11:00 a.m.
Bee Quammie, Multi-Passionate Creative, Writer and Award-Winning Digital Content Creator

11:00 to 11:30 a.m.
Special Guest Presenter
Patrick Case, Assistant Deputy Minister of the Education Equity Secretariat

11:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
School Mental Health Ontario | Presentation on the Implementation of Right Time, Right Care
Lisa Doerksen, MSW, RSW, and Team Lead, Prevention/Early Intervention and System Collaboration

12:00 to 12:30 p.m.
Artistic Presentation
Randell Adjei, Transformational Speaker, Spoken Word Practitioner, Arts Educator and Ontario’s First Poet Laureate

12:30 to 1:15 p.m.


1:15 to 1:30 p.m.
Award Presentation and Remarks: 2022 School Social Work Achievement Award

1:30 to 3:45 p.m.
PANEL: Identities at the Forefront: How to Put Inclusion into Action in our Schools

Moderator: Toni Lauzon, Equity and Identity-Affirming Learning Consultant, School Mental Health Ontario


  • Carol Soares, RSW, Specialist, Equity Diversity and Inclusion, and CEO, Magnificent Minded Studios
  • Todd Elliott, MSW, RSW, Mental Health Resource Clinician, Special Education, Social-Emotional Learning and Well Being, Peel District School Board
  • Travonne Edwards, Assistant Professor, Toronto Metropolitan University, PhD of Social Work Candidate, M.A. Child and Youth Care, University of Toronto
  • Dr. Funke Oba, MSc., MSW, PhD, Assistant Professor and Graduate Program Director, Toronto Metropolitan University

Additional panelists to be confirmed

3:45 to 4:00 p.m.
Closing Remarks

  • Miguel Guayasamin, MSW, RSW, School Social Worker, Halton Catholic District School Board
  • Tina Armstrong, Elder, Bearskin Lake First Nation

Note: Program is subject to change. Additional program details will be added as they are confirmed.


Learn more about our expert speakers and the experiences they bring to the table. 


  • Members: $50.00+HST
  • Student Members: FREE
  • Non-Members: $75.00+HST
  • Student Non-Members: $35.00+HST


Live simultaneous French translation and closed captioning will be available during the event.


OASW and its School Social Work Advisory Group are inviting nominations for the 2022 School Social Work Achievement Award. Consider nominating a School Social Worker who has exceeded your expectations by October 7, 2022.

Learn More and Download the Nomination Form


Your support of this critical inter-professional event will help to build equitable access to culturally responsive care for our students, by advancing dialogue on the intersections between race, culture, identity, and mental health, and providing the practical tools needed to support student wellness. Consider supporting the Symposium by helping us reach as many school social workers and allied education professionals as possible.

Spread the Word


Thank you to all members of our School Social Work Advisory Committee for sharing your expertise and insights to help make this critical event a success:

  • Chair: Tracey Grose, School Mental Health Ontario
  • Vice-Chair: Kristi Gordon, Hamilton Wentworth District School Board
  • OASW Board Liaisons: Dr. Shelley Craig & Carol Soares
  • Andréanne Fleck Saito, School Mental Health Ontario
  • Dominique Doyle, Conseil scolaire catholique mon avenir
  • Gabriella D’Ambrosio, Halton District School Board
  • Geer Harvey, Upper Grand District School Board
  • Jenny Athanasiou-Malisa, Hamilton Wentworth District School Board
  • Jessie Grosz, Waterloo Catholic District School Board
  • Kimberley Sherman, Peel District School Board
  • Maria Peixoto, Toronto Catholic School Board
  • Sara Mclean, District School Board of Niagara
  • Sarah Kirby, Hamilton Wentworth Catholic School Board
  • Shelley Phoenix, Durham Catholic District School Board
  • Shenelle Bernier, Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board
  • Stefanie Burosch, Trillium Lakelands District School Board
  • Toni Lauzon, Greater Essex County District School Board


Questions can be directed to [email protected].




In the Media: Keeping Student Mental Health Top-of-Mind

OASW has been working to keep student wellbeing and mental health top-of-mind as children and youth return to schools this fall. Our proactive engagement with media has highlighted the critical role that school social workers play in providing early intervention and connecting students to the care they need to thrive. 

See the latest coverage