How to become a Social Worker in Canada?

Social work is a growing profession initially founded as a social justice movement. Volunteers passionate about helping the most marginalised members of society, spreading positivity, and fighting for social justice were the first to establish social work in Canada.

Social work theory, social science, and the humanities have contributed to the development of social work as an academic field and regulated profession throughout the past century. The field develops due to academic study, evidence-based practice, and Indigenous knowledge methods.

A social worker is a licenced medical professional who focuses on enhancing the health and well-being of people, families, groups, and communities. They provide solutions to societal problems like discrimination, poverty, and joblessness. In addition, social workers fight for equal rights to health care, social services, and other forms of social justice.

The following are fundamental beliefs Canadian social workers hold:

Individuals should be treated with the respect they deserve.

Justice seeking

Contribution to the common good

Ethics in the workplace

The need for confidentiality in the workplace

Acknowledged skill in one’s field

What Do Social Workers Do?

Profession dedicated to helping others.

Social workers have faith in the inherent strengths and abilities of every individual. Social workers assist clients in achieving holistic health by addressing their emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs in various contexts. Oppression, discrimination, domestic violence, unemployment, and poverty are a few of the broader societal issues covered. These people accomplish this in various methods, such as


Critiquing Social Policy,

Improvements in community capability,

Scientific Investigations into Health Promotion

Working with people from different fields.

Where Do Social Workers Work?

Social work can take place in person and virtually. You’ll find social workers in a variety of settings, including

Advocacy organizations

Child welfare settings

Community health centres

Consultation agencies

Correctional facilities

Employee assistance and private counselling programs

Family courts

Family services agencies

Government departments



Human rights organizations


Mental health clinics

Private practice


Social services agencies

Social housing organizations

School boards


Youth drop-in centres

social worker in canada

How to Become a Social Worker


Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees in social work are all available from accredited institutions in Canada. Coursework focuses on imparting theoretical information, practicums provide hands-on experience, and self-reflection rounds out the programmes.

Before applying to a social work degree programme, make sure you meet all of the entry requirements. Liberal arts classes, especially those in social policy, sociology, psychology, and philosophy, are frequently required as prerequisites.

Typically, the first two years of a bachelor’s degree programme in social work are spent on general arts coursework before students apply to social work schools. Experience, grade point average, and attitude are only some of the criteria that the social work school will evaluate.

Gaining work experience via volunteering is highly recommended. To be eligible for admission to a school of social work, you may need to have completed a certain number of hours of voluntary or paid work in the field.

For further information on qualifications and required volunteer experience, prospective students may get in touch with individual colleges offering social work degrees.

Beginning Your Career

In Canada, you’ll need these credentials to practise social work:

A degree in social work at the bachelor’s level

Observe that in Alberta, a bachelor’s degree or a social work diploma is necessary to practise.

You may also require, although this depends on where you live and what you hope to do professionally,

Experiential learning under supervision (practicum)

Written and oral provincial/territorial exams

Participation in a social work association at the provincial or territorial level


To practice as a social worker in the following provinces/territories, you will need to be registered with a regulatory authority within your province or territory:


British Columbia


New Brunswick

Newfoundland and Labrador

Northwest Territories

Nova Scotia


Prince Edward Island



Can I Become a Social Worker if I Have a Criminal Record?

It is true that those with criminal histories can still practise in the field of social work as Registered Social Workers. The ability to relate to clients via personal experience is a valuable asset in many fields.

Information for those interested in social work despite a criminal history:

For educational purposes, including placement in practicums, most social work programmes require applicants to report any prior convictions. The best place to get advice on what to do next is from the colleges you’re applying to.

Social workers in most jurisdictions need to be registered with a governing organisation. If you want to know how a criminal record will be handled, you should contact the relevant provincial or territorial regulatory organisation.

Gainful employment: Many positions in the social work sector demand a clean criminal record check, especially those dealing with vulnerable populations. If you have a criminal past, be honest about it with possible employers. Describe your takeaways and how you’ll use them to better assist others.

social worker in canada

Working Conditions

Even though many social workers are employed full-time, those seeking part-time employment can find it. They could be working remotely or in an office.

Direct service social workers typically spend the majority of their time with clients in one of four settings: the office, the client’s home, the field, or the internet. They also spend time talking with other experts in the field, such as psychologists, educators, doctors, and lawyers.

Location, job title, and responsibilities all play a role in determining salary. Across Canada in 2022, social workers made between $22 and $46 an hour.

The provincial or territorial agency in charge of such matters is the best source of pay data for your area.

How Many Social Workers are there in Canada?

About 52,823 people worked as social workers in Canada in 2018.

Legislation and oversight of social workers is handled at the state/provincial/territorial level. In order to find out the total number of Registered Social Workers in your area, you should get in touch with the relevant Provincial/Territorial governing organisation.

Future Prospects

As baby boomers begin to retire and leave their jobs behind, the need for social workers is expected to increase, leading to a surge in available positions between 2019 and 2028.

The outlook varies across Canada based on every province or territory you live in. For more information, you can get in touch with the relevant provincial or territorial regulatory organisation in your area.

Immigrate to Canada as a Social Worker

Did you know that by 2020 social workers will be among Canada’s top 20 in demand professions? Depending on your level of experience and education, you might make anywhere from $75,065 to $95,843 per year as a social worker in Canada.

This field is in high demand in six different provinces and territories. You can choose from a number of immigration paths, and the job market is robust. Job Bank reports that there were 73,600 available social worker jobs in 2018, with an expected rise to 28,400 openings by 2028.

Jobs in Canada for Social Workers

The possibility of securing gainful employment is a major consideration while deciding whether or not to relocate to Canada. Some of the most frequently asked questions concerning social work careers in Canada have answers that follow.

Do Canadians actually need social workers?

Yes! As was previously indicated, qualified social workers can immigrate to Canada and have a good chance of finding work in six of the country’s eleven provinces. Canadian provinces of the Prairies and Atlantic:



New Brunswick;

Nova Scotia;


Prince Edward Island;


Estimates for the number of new employment to be produced in Canada over the next several years range from 27,100 (due to growth and replacement needs) to 28,400 (to accommodate recent graduates and newcomers to the country).

What is the Average Salary for a Social Worker in Canada?

social worker in canada

Neuvoo reports that a seasoned social worker in Canada can make between $75,000 and $95,843 annually, putting it among the highest paying countries in the world for the profession. Obviously, this is dependent on the region of Canada in which you ultimately make your home.

Average Annual Salaries for Social Workers in Canada
Province Average Salary per Year (CAD)
Alberta $95,843
Northwest Territories $86,639
Yukon $86,540
Ontario $79,911
Nova Scotia $78,564
Nunavut $76,437
British Columbia $75,065
Newfoundland & Labrador $74,978
Saskatchewan $71,911
Quebec $67,543
New Brunswick $65,747
Prince Edward Island $61,519
Manitoba $54,832

Where do Social Workers Work in Canada?

Hospitals, community centres, mental health clinics, schools, child welfare, family service, and social housing departments, prisons, government offices, family courts, employee assistance programmes, school boards, and private counselling and consultation agencies are all hiring foreign workers in Canada.

The possibilities for finding work here are virtually endless. The Canadian government utilises a system called the National Occupation Classification (NOC) Codes to categorise different types of jobs.

Occupations for Social Workers in Canada
NOC Code Occupation
0423 Managers in social, community, and correctional services
4033 Educational counselors
4152 Social workers
4153 Family, marriage, and other related counselors
4212 Social and community service workers

How Do I Become a Social Worker in Canada?

Step 1: Choose Where You Want to Live and Work in Canada

You probably have an idea of where you want to settle and find job in Canada by now. This is crucial because there are more than eighty potential visa or immigration programmes to explore. Once you’ve decided where in Canada you want to make your permanent home, you may begin applying for jobs.

Having a job lined up before you relocate will also relieve you of the pressure of attempting to find one after you arrive in your new country of residence. You probably have an idea of where you want to settle and find job in Canada by now.

This is crucial because there are more than eighty potential visa or immigration programmes to explore. Once you’ve decided where in Canada you want to make your permanent home, you may begin applying for jobs.

Having a job lined up before you relocate will also relieve you of the pressure of attempting to find one after you arrive in your new country of residence. Step 2: Make Sure Your Qualifications Are Recognized

Accreditation of your international qualifications and their recognition in Canada is necessary if you want to live and work in the field of social work in Canada. Your degree, diploma, or certificate will be recognised as valid and equivalent to those in Canada if they have been ECA-evaluated.

Important because it will help you get permanent residency in Canada and may be required by your company or the Canadian government. List of approved testing facilities is shown below.

Comparative Education Service – University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies;

International Credential Assessment Service of Canada;

World Education Services;

International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS); and

International Credential Evaluation Service.

Moving to Canada with the intention of beginning work as a social worker may necessitate passing a written and oral examination administered by the province or territory in which you plan to practise and becoming registered with that province’s or territory’s regulatory body. The provincial and territorial medical regulatory bodies are listed below.

Regulatory Authorities for Social Workers in Canada
Province/Territory Regulatory Authority
Alberta Alberta College of Social Workers
British Columbia British Columbia College of Social Workers
Manitoba Manitoba College of Social Workers
New Brunswick New Brunswick Association of Social Workers
Newfoundland and Labrador Newfoundland & Labrador Association of Social Workers
Northwest Territories Registrar, Professional Licensing Government of the Northwest Territories Department of Health and Social Services
Nova Scotia Nova Scotia College of Social Workers
Nunavut Nunavut Department of Health and Social Services Medical Registration Committee
Ontario Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Services
Prince Edward Island Prince Edward Island Social Work Registration Board
Québec Ordre des travailleurs sociaux et thérapeutes conjugaux et familiaux du Québec
Saskatchewan Saskatchewan Association of Social Workers
Yukon Yukon Medical Council

social worker in canada

Step 2: Apply for a Job in Canada

There is no requirement that you have a job offer before you may come to Canada if you are a highly trained worker; nonetheless, having one will facilitate your transition to life in Canada, as it may take some time to land your ideal position.

You can gain PR points toward your immigration application, anywhere from fifty to two hundred, if you have a legitimate employment offer.

Step 3: Start the immigration Process

There are many routes you can take to immigrate to Canada as a social worker but we’ve listed the top 4 ways that will give you the greatest chances of success in the application process:

Express Entry system;

Provincial Nominee Program;

The Rural and Northern Immigration Program;

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot.


What qualifications do you need to be a social worker in Canada?

A social work career in Ontario necessitates a Bachelor of Social Work degree, which can be earned after four years of university study. One or two years of graduate schooling are needed to earn a Master of Social Work, which is required by some employers.

How can I apply as a social worker in Canada?

To become a licenced or registered social worker in Canada, you must apply directly to the relevant provincial regulating authority. Knowing the employment and social work requirements in Canada is essential.

How much are social workers paid in Canada?

Full-time legal and social, community and government service professionals in 2020 can expect an average hourly compensation of $40.77. The median compensation for this occupational category in 2020 is $1,435, which works out to an average yearly salary of $75,000 for a full-time worker.

Which country is best for social work?

USA. The United States is the best country to study social work because it has some of the top programs in the world.

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