OASW’s Code of Civility

The Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW) is committed to creating events and communities that are free of harassment, where all participants share a commitment to supporting a culture of respect and intentional engagement. As a participant, we encourage you to be thoughtful and kind in your communication and acknowledge others’ identities, backgrounds, histories, and lived experiences. This includes avoiding anti-Indigenous racism, anti-Black racism, anti-Asian racism, antisemitism, anti-Muslim racism, mis-gendering, sexism, heterosexism, sanism, ableism, classism, and all forms of shaming and discrimination.

By engaging in events and communities hosted by OASW, I agree to treat others with dignity and respect and will adhere to these guidelines:

Personal Safety and Confidentiality

  • Share how you would like to be addressed and when unsure, inquire how others would like to be addressed.
  • Respect the privacy of clients, colleagues, and community members by complying with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers’ Confidentiality Principle in the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. De-identify information and details about specific individuals when posing questions or comments.
  • Communicate directly with OASW staff when there is a safety concern.

Collective Culture of Respect

  • Contribute to upholding a welcoming and inclusive space for all, appreciating that participants have different ways of communicating and engaging.
  • Use “I” statements and speak from your own experience. Be open to critical and educational discussions by adopting a learner’s stance rather than making assumptions.
  • Respect all participants' contributions by not interrupting (i.e., avoid engaging in unrelated or side conversations) and be mindful of how much time you occupy when speaking.
  • Refrain from disruptive and harmful acts of microaggressions (i.e., indirect, subtle, or unintentional instances of discrimination).

Respect Ownership

  • Refrain from taking pictures, screenshots, personal recordings, and from copying or sharing content at OASW events.
  • Reference appropriately when citing intellectual property, including academic writing, and information shared at an event in professional contexts, conferences, and other venues.


This Code of Civility highlights the importance of personal safety and confidentiality, creating a culture of respect, and respecting ownership, based on OASW’s values. Participants who behave in ways that do not reflect the guidelines above will be notified and asked to stop immediately. Failure to do so may result in OASW staff or the event/community organizer limiting the individual’s participation, expulsion from an event or community, a ban from all OASW events and/or communities, and/or other disciplinary measures as set out by the Association.

Thank you for helping to create and maintain a culture of safety, respect, and accountability at OASW.

If you have any questions regarding the Code of Civility, please contact us at [email protected].