Social Service Worker

Program: SSWK
Credential: Ontario College Diploma
Delivery: Full-time
Work Integrated Learning: 2 Field Placements
Length: 4 Semesters
Duration: 2 Years
Effective: Fall 2024, Winter 2025, Summer 2025
Location: Orangeville (Fall), Orillia (Fall, Winter, Summer), South Georgian Bay (Fall)


In this program, students develop the 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 and to promote social justice, human dignity, and equity when working with individuals, families, groups, and communities. Through the use of counselling labs, students practice communication skills and develop practical skills in assessment, interviewing, relationship building, group facilitation, and the use of various therapeutic approaches. Students gain knowledge about their role as social service workers through the study and application of the code of ethics and standards of practice, and evidenced-based decision-making in the field of social service work. Faculty are committed to a teaching and learning practice that embraces and promotes equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging, with an emphasis on Indigenous knowledge and learning. Other areas of study include mental health, trauma-informed practice, crisis intervention, community development, anti-oppressive practice, advocacy, social change, and social innovation. Students have the opportunity to engage with the community through experiential learning, social change initiatives and two field placements.

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 and Ontario Social Service Worker Association. 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 addictions, disability services, employment resources, gender-based violence, seniors’ services and programs, community health and information resource centres, housing, and education services.

Program Learning Outcomes

The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to:

  1. develop respectful and collaborative professional and interpersonal relationships that adhere to professional, legal, and ethical standards aligned to social service work;

  2. record information accurately and communicate effectively in written, digital, verbal and non-verbal ways, in adherence to privacy and freedom of information legislation, in accordance with professional and workplace standards;

  3. integrate a practice framework within a service delivery continuum, addressing the needs of individuals, families and communities at micro, mezzo, macro and global levels, and work with them in achieving their goals;

  4. plan and implement accessible and responsive programs and services, recognizing the diverse needs and experiences of individuals, groups, families and communities, and meeting these needs;

  5. examine current social policy, relevant legislation, and political, social, historical, and/or economic systems and their impacts for individuals and communities when delivering services to the user/client;

  6. develop strategies and approaches that support individual clients, groups, families and communities in building the capacity for self-advocacy, while affirming their dignity and self-worth;

  7. work from an anti-oppressive, strengths-based practice, recognizing the capacity for resilience and growth of individuals and communities when responding to the diverse needs of marginalized or vulnerable populations to act as allies and advocates;

  8. develop strategies and approaches to implement and maintain holistic self-care as a member of a human service profession;

  9. work with individuals, groups, families and their communities to ensure that service provider strategies promote social and economic justice, and challenge patterns of oppression, discrimination and harassment, and sexual violence with clients, coworkers and communities;

  10. develop the capacity to work with the Indigenous individual, families, groups and communities while respecting their inherent rights to self-determine, and to identify and address systemic barriers that produce ill-effects, developing appropriate responses using approaches such as trauma informed care practice;

  11. develop social entrepreneurship skills to foster positive social change in the community.

Program Progession 

The following reflects the planned progression for full-time offerings of the program.

Fall Intake - Orangeville, Orillia, South Georgian Bay

  • Sem 1: Fall 2024
  • Sem 2: Winter 2025
  • Sem 3: Fall 2025
  • Sem 4: Winter 2026

Winter Intake - Orillia

  • Sem 1: Winter 2025
  • Sem 2: Summer 2025
  • Sem 3: Fall 2025
  • Sem 4: Winter 2026

Summer Intake - Orillia

  • Sem 1: Summer 2025
  • Sem 2: Fall 2025
  • Sem 3: Winter 2026
  • Sem 4: Summer 2026


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

  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent with mature student status
  • 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 for Prior Learning 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 may be asked to provide community agencies with proof of completion of Standard First Aid and CPR Level C certification as well as an up-to-date immunization record with a two-step TB test in some circumstances to proceed with field placement. Students are required to review agency requirements provided by the field placement office. Proof of completion of the Ontario Ministry of Labour Health and Safety Awareness training must also be provided before proceeding on field placement.

Graduation Requirements

17 Program Courses
2 Communications Courses
2 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.

Program Tracking

The following reflects the planned course sequence for full-time offerings of the Fall intake of the program. Where more  than one intake is offered  contact the program co-ordinator for the program tracking.

Plan of Study Grid
Semester 1Hours
Program Courses  
SSWK 1000 Human Development Across the Lifespan 42
SSWK 1001 Introduction to Social Service Work 42
SSWK 1002 Family Sociology for Social Service Work 42
SSWK 1003 Principles of a Helping Relationship 42
SSWK 1010 Field Placement Preparation 42
Communications Course  
Select 1 course from the communications list during registration. 42
Semester 2
Program Courses  
SSWK 1006 Case Management and Advocacy 42
SSWK 1012 Mental Health and Addictions in Social Service Work Practice 42
SSWK 1013 Social Welfare and Political Ideologies 42
SSWK 2000 Power, Privilege, Intersectionality and Anti-Oppressive Social Service Work 42
Communications Course  
Select 1 course from the communications list during registration. 42
General Education Course  
Select 1 course from the general education list during registration. 42
Semester 3
Program Courses  
SSWK 1017 Ethics, Professionalism, and Wellness in Social Services 42
SSWK 2009 Field Placement Seminar 1 42
SSWK 2013 Practical Techniques and Therapeutic Approaches in the Helping Relationship 42
SSWK 2014 Community Practice in Social Service Work 42
General Education Course  
Select 1 course from the general education list during registration. 42
Field Placement  
SSWK 2015 Field Placement 1 224
Semester 4
Program Courses  
SSWK 2006 Community Development: Advocacy and Social Change 42
SSWK 2007 Consolidating Techniques in the Helping Relationship 42
SSWK 2010 Field Placement Seminar 2 42
SSWK 2017 Group Facilitation and Dynamics 42
General Education Course  
Select 1 course from the general education list during registration. 42
Field Placement  
SSWK 2016 Field Placement 2 224
 Total Hours1372

Graduation Window

Students unable to adhere to the program duration of two years (as stated above) may take a maximum of four years to complete their credential. After this time, students must be re-admitted into the program, and follow the curriculum in place at the time of re-admission.

Disclaimer: The information in this document 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. 

Program outlines may be subject to change in response to emerging situations, in order to facilitate student achievement of the learning outcomes required for graduation. Components such as courses, progression, coop work terms, placements, internships and other requirements may be delivered differently than published.

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