a female adult student holding notebooks

This innovative, award-winning program is designed to assist internationally educated social work professionals to gain employment in the social service/human service sector in Ontario at levels that match their knowledge and experience. Since the program began in 2005, 89 percent of certificate program graduates have been hired into positions in the social work field within one year of graduation.

Industry and Careers
This program can lead to career paths in various areas in social work (for those eligible for registration with the Ontario College Of Social workers and Social Service Workers - OCSWSSW) such as:

  • Brief and supportive counselling
  • Case management
  • Child protection
  • Children, youth and family support
  • Crisis and housing, mental health and addiction
  • Violence against women services

Who Should Take This Certificate?

The certificate program is offered to two groups of applicants:

  • Experienced social workers whose academic credentials have been recognized as equivalent to a BSW or an MSW by the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW), and/or who are registered members of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW) 

OR

  • Those with a degree in the social sciences or humanities who also have significant social service experience

Everyone admitted to the program will be assessed for English proficiency to ensure capacity for success in university-level courses instructed in English. Both streams include placement and job search support. 

What Will You Learn?
Offered part-time over a 13-month period (beginning in the Summer term), the program includes courses, mentorship, and work experience. The Internationally Educated Social Work Professionals (IESW) Program provides advanced entry for its nine-month certificate program to underemployed IESWs with proof of advanced academic English language proficiency. The certificate is open only to internationally educated professionals with social service experience approved through the IESW Program admissions process.

Information For IESW Professionals Residing in Ontario

If you reside in Ontario and have a degree in social work, humanities, or social sciences, you may choose to utilize one or more of the following IESW Bridging Program services.

Individual Consultations

We recognize that you may have questions specific to your situation. We encourage you to request an individual consultation with an IESW Program team member by emailing iesw@ryerson.ca.

The Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice

The Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice is a part-time, 13-month-long program that includes coursework, supervised work placements, mentorship, and employment supports for qualified social work professionals who were educated outside of Canada. The program provides advanced entry for 9-month program to underemployed IESWs with proof of advanced academic English language proficiency.

Introduction to Social Services in Ontario Course

In addition to the certificate program, the IESW Bridging Program offers CVSW 901 - Introduction to Social Services in Ontario.

This eight-week course introduces students to the skills, knowledge, and conceptual frameworks utilized in social services, with an emphasis on understanding sector-specific vocabulary, terminology, and employment opportunities.

The Internationally Educated Social Workers Network (IESWN)

Join our free email network to receive regular information about employment, volunteer, and professional development opportunities.

To join the network, send an email to iesw@ryerson.ca and use the subject line “Internationally Educated Social Workers Network”.

Canadian Social Work Practice

Offered part-time over a 13-month period (beginning in the Summer term) or a 9-month period (beginning in the Fall term), the program includes courses, mentorship, and work experience. The certificate is open only to internationally educated professionals with social service experience approved through the Internationally Educated Social Work Professionals (IESW) Program admissions process.

Tuition and Awards and Financial Aid

The tuition fee for the Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice for 2022–2023 is expected to be $6,500 plus taxes. This fee is subject to change.

How to Apply

Please contact the IESW Program office to request an online application form.

Curriculum and Schedule

The Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice will give you extensive and valuable knowledge about the Canadian social services sector. Your in-class courses and work placement will also further develop your theoretical and practical skills in the area of social work practice.

All courses are required and you must successfully pass each one. Classes are held from 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays from July until February. From March until June, classes are held one day a week from 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. In addition to class time, you will participate in an unpaid work experience placement for three to four days per week.

In a typical week, you will attend classes, read articles, write essays and/or tests, and be graded for your work. You’ll also attend sessions on language use and job search preparation, visit social service agencies, and typically spend a minimum of 25 to 30 hours per week on your class and related activities.

Fall Term Courses

  • CVSW 900 - Foundations of Social Work
  • CSWP 917 - Special Topics I (Developing Your Professional Identity in Canadian Social Work Practice)

Winter Term Courses

  • CSWP 301 - Decolonizing and Anti-Oppression Practice
  • CSWP 918 - Special Topics II (Social Work Practices, Language and Communication)

Spring Term Course and Work Placement

Summer Term Course

  • COEN 462 - Academic and English Language skills for Internationally Educated Social Work Professionals. This course is a pre-admission course for IESWs pursuing the 13-month Certificate Program.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice?
The Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice is offered through the Internationally Educated Social Work Professionals (IESW) Bridging Program at Toronto Metropolitan University to enhance the academic and employment prospects of IESWs. The program is funded by the Government of Ontario. The program includes credit courses, social work skills-based workshops, job search supports, mentorship, and unpaid work experience.

Since the certificate program began in 2005, 89% of graduates have been hired into positions in the social work field within one year of graduation.

How long is the Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice?
The Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice is a part-time program offered from June to July of the following year (13 months). The program provides advanced entry to 9-month program for underemployed IESWs with proof of advanced academic English language proficiency. The program facilitates intensive job search support sessions in July and August.

Which topics will the certificate program courses cover?
All Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice courses comply with Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE) accreditation standards. The courses are developed and monitored by the School of Social Work at Toronto Metropolitan University and cover topics such as current legislation and policies; codes of ethics; standards of practice; current theoretical, legal, and practice approaches; and communication skills for the workplace.

What does the Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice cost?
The tuition fee for the Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice for 2022–2023 is expected to be $6,500 plus taxes. Please note that the fee is subject to change. The fee is payable in installments on a course-by-course, term-by-term basis. In addition to the tuition fee, you will incur other expenses such as transportation costs, books, etc.

How many study hours per week do I need allot for the certificate program?
In a typical week, students attend classes, read articles, write essays and/or tests, and are graded for their work. They also attend agency visits and participate in sessions on language use and job search preparation. Students enrolled in the Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice need to be prepared to spend at least 25–30 hours per week on their studies.

Can I work during the certificate program?
The program team strongly recommends not working outside of school so that you can fully engage with the rigorous learning opportunities available to you, obtain good grades, and feel prepared for workplace. Please keep in mind that the certificate program requires you to be in class from 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., twice per week, on Monday and Thursday from June until March. From April until early June, classes are held one day per week from 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. In addition to class time, students participate in an unpaid work experience placement for 3–4 days per week.

Why are the language requirements for the IESW program so rigorous?
Social work professionals require well-developed verbal and written English language skills to be able to counsel clients, discuss sensitive personal matters, keep detailed case records, prepare written reports, and make professional presentations. This is why IESWs are screened and supported for English language proficiency.

Can I get financial assistance to help me complete the Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice?
Learners in the Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice are eligible to apply for financial aid such as the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) or awards and bursaries available to Toronto Metropolitan students.

If you are receiving Ontario Works, Employment Insurance (EI), or Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) benefits or you are currently receiving Ontario Works in Toronto, you may qualify for financial support. Contact your case worker to learn more.

Your letter of acceptance into the Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice will include information about financial assistance.

What credential will I receive when I complete the certificate program?
After you successfully complete the program, you will graduate with a Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice from The Chang School at Toronto Metropolitan University.

What is the application deadline for the Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice?
The 2022–2023 deadline to apply for the Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice for is Friday, June 10, 2022.

How do I apply for the certificate program?
Please review the “How to Apply” and “Admission Criteria” sections on this page for more information. Need help? Contact the IESW Program Assistant at iesw@ryerson.ca.

What kind of documentation do I need in order to prove my Ontario residency?
Proof of Ontario residency includes a copy of your Ontario health insurance card or an Ontario driver’s licence.

What kind of documentation do I need to prove my eligibility to work in Canada?
Proof of Canadian work eligibility includes Canadian citizenship, Landed immigrant status, or Open Employment Authorization.

How can I have my international degree/credentials assessed by the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW)?
If you have a social work degree. you can find information about how to have your international degree/credentials assessed by the Canadian Association of Social Workers by visiting the CASW website.

However, if your degree is not in social work but in humanities or social sciences and you meet all the eligibility criteria, your degree should be assessed by the World Education Service (WES) on a course-by-course basis. Visit the WES website for details.

If I am eligible for the Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice but unable to participate, must I reapply for the following year?
Yes; however, you will not be asked to resubmit all of your documents. Please contact us at iesw@ryerson.ca or 416-979-5000, ext. 554095, for further clarification.

To find more about the centres that conduct the language assessments, visit the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks website.

What are Canadian Language Benchmarking (CLB)-based assessments? Do I have to pay for this assessment? Can I submit language scores from another language assessment such as TOEFL, MELAB, or IELTS instead of CLB- based assessments?
Your test scores from Canadian Language Benchmarking (CLB)-based assessment, Instructor Assigned CLBs, Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB), CLBA (Canadian Language Benchmark Assessment), or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) are accepted by the IESW Bridging Program as proof of language proficiency.

Information For IESW Professionals Planning to Immigrate to Ontario

Social workers who are educated and trained around the world have skills, experience, knowledge, and values that are common and thus transferable across countries. However, social work practice may be structured depending on the cultural, historical, political, economic, and societal context of the country.

If you plan to immigrate to Ontario, Canada, you may discover that the legislation and social service structure and practice are different here than in the country where you have practised social work. There may also be some differences in terms of qualifications, work practices, and employer expectations in particular social work practice settings. Therefore, if you plan to practice social work in Ontario, it is helpful to have an understanding of the current expectations of employers and the qualifications, skills, knowledge, education, values, and ethics required to work in the field.

It is also beneficial to know this information ahead of time, so that you can prepare and plan in advance to realize your professional goals in a new setting.

To begin, follow these instructions:

Step One

Email IESW at iesw@ryerson.ca to request access to a free information package for IESWs planning to immigrate to Ontario, Canada.

Step Two

After obtaining access, review the information package for IESWs planning to immigrate to Ontario, Canada.

Step Three

If you have any further questions or suggestions, please email IESW at iesw@ryerson.ca.

Information for Employers

Employers in the social services sector can enhance their capacity to utilize the knowledge and skills of IESWs in their organization or get engaged with the program as mentors, guest speakers, mock interviewers.

Recognition

The program’s holistic approach of involves connecting IESWs and social service agencies to minimize systemic barriers faced by immigrant professionals.

Its impressive outcomes have earned two awards:

  • The Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW) Leaders in the Social Work Community Award
    • For initiating systemic change to increase diversity in the workplace and for advancing human rights in the social work profession
  • The Toronto Star Immigrant Champion Award
    • For excellence in assisting skilled immigrants with their entry and advancement in the workforce

Meet the Team

Tej Wadhwa, Program Manager

Tej Wadhwa, is the Program Manager for the Chang School’s Internationally Educated Social Work Professionals (IESW) Bridging Program. Tej is an internationally educated professional (IEP) with a Masters degree in Social Work and Human Resource Management. Through her 12 years work experience, in both for profit and non profit sectors, she has consistently strived for equity and fairness. A significant part of Tej’s working life has been with agencies serving immigrant professionals where she has worked from front line to management. Prior to joining Toronto Metropolitan, Tej managed a program for internationally educated IT professionals.

Tej is extremely proud to be a part of the IESW bridging program and looks forward to contributing to the work being done for the internationally educated social work professionals.


Ellen Bercovitz, Coordinator of Field Programming

Ellen Bercovitz is the Coordinator of Field Programming for The Chang School's Internationally Educated Social Work Professionals (IESW) Program. Ellen has a Masters degree in Education from the University of Toronto and has worked for over 20 years in community agencies throughout Toronto in developing programs, creating policies addressing equity and access issues, working with children and their families, working as a mental health counsellor in a variety of settings, and for many years, has worked with students as a college instructor, counsellor, and field instructor. For the past 11 years, Ellen has worked in a drop-in for homeless women developing programs, facilitating community education, and overseeing the agency's volunteer and community engagement initiatives. Ellen's work experience has often included working with newcomers in many capacities including finding creative pathways towards employment and identifying barriers that prevent immigrant professionals from finding meaningful work in their chosen professions.


June Ying Yee, Academic Coordinator/Faculty Liaison

June Ying Yee, BA, BSW, MSW, PhD, is the Faculty Liaison/Curriculum Development Coordinator for The Chang School’s Internationally Educated Social Work Professionals (IESW) Program. In addition to this role, June is an associate professor in Toronto Metropolitan University’s School of Social Work. In 2002, June received the Professor of the Year Award for her excellence in research, teaching, and scholarship at Toronto Metropolitan. In 2008, she was also co-awarded the Social Work Leaders in the Community Award by the Ontario Association of Social Workers.

An anti-racism scholar and worker, June brings curriculum leadership and expertise, involvement in community-based research, and many years of experience in the field of social work practice. Prior to joining Toronto Metropolitan, June worked in the areas of health, education, and social services in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, and the United Kingdom.

June’s extensive research undertakings are represented by her previously funded studies, including: “Examining the Experiences of Visible Minority Social Work Professionals” (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada); “Striving for Best Practices in Equitable Mental Health Services for Racialized Communities” (Canadian Institutes of Health Research [CIHR]); “Racialized Groups and Health Status: Exploring Poverty, Housing, Race-Based Discrimination and Access to Health Care in Toronto” (CIHR); and “Examining Systemic and Individual Barriers by Ethno-Racial Minority Social Workers in Mainstream Agencies: A Community Project” (Human Resources and Skills Development and Canadian Heritage).

Client Service Charter

IESW Team Service Promise

We are committed to serving internationally educated social work professions residing or planning to reside in Ontario, employers, alumni, stakeholders, funders and our communities with care and competence.

You can expect us to:

  1. Value human rights and equity among all people.
  2. Recognize the uniqueness, strength and expertise of each person we serve.
  3. Provide you with accurate, up to date information so that you can make an informed decision about your academic and career pathway.
  4. Maintain confidentiality and professionalism in all our communications.
  5. Work closely with the broader community to meet your specific needs and goals.
  6. Nurture excellence and collaboration among our community stakeholders/partners.
  7. Respond within 2 business days to your telephone / email inquiry.
  8. Provide you with an appropriate referral/recommendation if we are unable to assist you or provide you with the reasons why we are unable to complete your request.
  9. Make every effort to accommodate requests outside of our work hours: 9 am - 5 pm from Monday through Friday, when possible. While we remain committed to accommodating your needs, our actions may be limited by resource constraints or other challenges.

Share with us what we did well and what we can do better!

Please email iesw@ryerson.ca or tej.wadhwa@ryerson.ca to share your positive comments or constructive feedback. We are eager to learn about the ways we can improve our service. Your privacy will be protected. You will receive a response within 2 business days.

The IESW Bridging Program is a provincially funded, Ontario Bridge Training Program, and a part of Employment Ontario program service delivery network.

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Additional Details

Courses

CSWP 36A is a multi-term course. If you enrol in CSWP 36A for the selected term, you will automatically be enrolled in CSWP 36B for the subsequent term. The automatic enrolment usually occurs near the completion of “A” term, and therefore the “B” term will not appear on your schedule of classes until that time.