Social Service Worker

Program: SSWK
Credential: Ontario College Diploma
Delivery: Full-time
Work Integrated Learning: 3 Field Placements
Length: 4 Semesters
Duration: 2 Years
Effective: Fall 2017, Winter 2018
Location: Orillia (Fall, Winter), South Georgian Bay (Fall)


The program provides the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills required to effectively assume the role of a helping professional in the diverse and complex field of social services. Students are challenged to examine their beliefs and values; to develop interpersonal communication skills; and to promote values of social justice, human dignity, and equality.

The program philosophy is based on a fundamental belief in the dignity, worth and potential of all people, emphasizing knowledge and skill development in interviewing, communication, and relationship building; effective membership and leadership in groups; working with families; and utilizing evidence-based decision-making. Students practice the skills involved in case management, community development and advocacy. There will be opportunities to engage in the community through community service learning and field placement.

Career Opportunities

Graduates gain an understanding of the values and ethics that lead to the empowerment of individuals and communities, and they also meet the educational requirements for registration as a Social Service Worker in the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. Employment opportunities are affiliated with community mental health, government, and non-profit agencies. Primary career categories include: programs serving children and families, community shelters, mental health and disability services, employment resources, seniors’ programs, housing, and education services.

Program Learning Outcomes

The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to:

  • develop and maintain professional relationships which adhere to professional, legal, and ethical standards aligned to social service work;
  • identify strengths, resources, and challenges of individuals, groups, families, and communities to assist them in achieving their goals;
  • recognize diverse needs and experiences of individuals, groups, families, and communities, to promote accessible and responsive programs and services;
  • identify current social policy; relevant legislation; and political, social, and/or economic systems, and their impacts on service delivery;
  • advocate for appropriate access to resources to assist individuals, families, groups and communities;
  • develop and maintain positive working relationships with colleagues, supervisors, and community partners;
  • develop strategies and plans that lead to the promotion of self-care, improved job performance and enhanced work relationships;
  • integrate social group work and group facilitation skills across a wide range of environments, supporting growth and development of individuals, families and communities;
  • work in communities to advocate for change strategies that promote social and economic justice and challenge patterns of oppression and discrimination.
  • employ environmental sustainable practices within the profession.
  • develop social entrepreneur skills to foster positive social change in the community.

The Program Progression

Fall Intake - Orillia, South Georgian Bay

  • Sem 1: Fall 2017
  • Sem 2: Winter 2018
  • Sem 3: Fall 2018
  • Sem 4: Winter 2019

Winter Intake - Orillia

  • Sem 1: Winter 2018
  • Sem 2: Summer 2018
  • Sem 3: Fall 2018
  • Sem 4: Winter 2019


A number of articulation agreements have been negotiated with universities and other institutions across Canada, North America and internationally. These agreements are assessed, revised and updated on a regular basis. Please contact the program co-ordinator for specific details if you are interested in pursuing such an option. Additional information can be found on our website at

Admission Requirements

OSSD or equivalent with

  • Grade 12 English (C or U)

Mature students, non-secondary school applicants (19 years or older), and home school applicants may also be considered for admission. Eligibility may be met by applicants who have taken equivalent courses, upgrading, completed their GED, and equivalency testing. For complete details refer to:

Applicants who have taken courses from a recognized and accredited post-secondary institution and/or have relevant life/learning experience may also be considered for admission; refer to the Credit Transfer Centre website for details:

Criminal Reference/Vulnerable Sector Check

Placement agencies require an up-to-date clear criminal reference check and vulnerable sector check prior to going out on placement. Students should obtain their criminal reference three months prior to placement; checks conducted earlier may not be considered current. As some jurisdictions require longer lead-time for processing, please check with the program coordinator to ensure you allow for sufficient turn-around time. It is the student's responsibility to provide the completed document prior to placement start.

NOTE: A record of criminal offences, for which a pardon has not been granted, may prevent students from completing their placements, thereby affecting their ability to graduate.

Additional Information

Applicants must have an up-to-date immunization record, Standard First Aid and CPR certification before proceeding on field placement. It is recommended that First Aid training is completed prior to program entry.

Graduation Requirements

17 Mandatory Courses
2 Communications Courses
3 Field Placements
3 General Education Courses

Graduation Eligibility

To graduate from this program, the passing weighted average for promotion through each semester, from year to year, and to graduate is 60%. Additionally, a student must attain a minimum of 50% or a letter grade of P (Pass) or S (Satisfactory) in each course in each semester unless otherwise stated on the course outline.


Mandatory Courses
SSWK 1000Human Development Across the Lifespan
SSWK 1001Introduction to Social Service Work
SSWK 1002Family Sociology for Social Service Work
SSWK 1003Principles of a Helping Relationship
SSWK 1006Case Management
SSWK 1010Field Placement Preparation
SSWK 1011Group Facilitation and Dynamics
SSWK 1012Mental Health and Addictions in Social Service Work Practice
SSWK 1013Social Welfare and Political Ideologies
SSWK 2000Diversity and Multiculturalism in Canada
SSWK 2005Ethics, Professionallism, and Wellness in the Social Services
SSWK 2006Community Development: Advocacy for Social and Economic Justice
SSWK 2007Consolidating Techniques in the Helping Relationship
SSWK 2009Field Placement Seminar 1
SSWK 2010Field Placement Seminar 2
SSWK 2013Practical Techniques in the Helping Relationship
SSWK 2014Community Practice in Social Service Work
Communications Courses
Select 2 courses from the communications list during registration.
Field Placements
SSWK 1014Introductory Field Placement
SSWK 2015Field Placement 1
SSWK 2016Field Placement 2
General Education Courses
Select 3 courses from the general education list during registration.

Information contained in College documents respecting programs is correct at the time of publication. Academic content of programs and courses is revised on an ongoing basis to ensure relevance to changing educational objectives and employment market needs. The college reserves the right to add or delete programs, options, courses, timetables or campus locations subject to sufficient enrolment, and the availability of courses.