Connect with the Internationally Educated Social Work Professionals (IESW) Bridging Program
Join us for a virtual drop-in consultation session to help support your career and educational goals. Sessions will take place from 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. EST every Friday.
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.
Offered part-time over a 13-month period (beginning in the Summer 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.
The program offers the following:
- degree credit courses that comply with the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE) accreditation standards and are monitored by the Faculty of the School of Social Work at Ryerson University
- a practicum placement and profession-specific communication and job search supports
- integration of experiential and simulation based learning into the curriculum
Note: If you are considering applying for the Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice, please contact us at the email address or phone number below to schedule a meeting with the IESW Bridging Program team or attend an information session. The meeting will help you to understand how we can support your career and education goals.
Phone: 416-979-5000, ext. 4095
IESW Bridging Program is funded by:
Tuition and Awards and Financial Aid
The tuition fee for the Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice for 2021–2022 is expected to be $6,500 plus taxes. This fee is subject to change.
Awards and Financial Aid
If you are eligible for Ontario Works, Employment Insurance (EI), or Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) benefits or are currently receiving Ontario Works in Toronto, you may qualify for financial support. Contact your caseworker to learn more.
How to Apply
To apply for the Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice, please complete and submit this online application form.
Note: You can also contact the IESW Program office to request an application form be mailed to you.
Along with your completed application form, you must also submit all of the following:
- current resumé or curriculum vitae
- proof of English language proficiency
- proof of Ontario residency
- proof of eligibility to work in Canada
In addition, you must submit one of the following:
- proof of assessment of BSW or MSW equivalency from the Canadian Association of Social Workers
- proof of Canadian degree equivalency and course by course evaluation by World Education Services (WES)
- proof of registration with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers
Email your completed application form along with the necessary documentation.
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.
- CVSW 900 - Foundations of Social Work
- CSWP 917 - Special Topics I
(Developing Your Professional Identity in Canadian Social Work Practice)
- CSWP 301 - Decolonizing and Anti-Oppression Practice
- CSWP 402 - Social Policy and Social Inclusion
- CSWP 918 - Special Topics II (Social Work Practices, Language and Communication)
Knowledge and Skills Development
The Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice covers topics that are key to reaching your professional goals:
- the Canadian social service system and its relation to law, health care, and education
- legislation and policies guiding the social services sector
- Ontario’s social work code of ethics and standards of practice
- what Canadian employers, social work colleges, and professional bodies expect from social work professionals
- English that’s appropriate for working in the social services sector
- interaction and communication skills (for example, interviewing and counselling, case management, documentation)
In addition to your classroom education, the Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice includes a meaningful, relevant, and challenging work placement.
Many social service employers want to reap the benefits of having an internationally educated social worker join their team.
Mentoring and Job Search Support
Chang School staff and instructors understand the unique needs of New Canadians and internationally educated professionals. The experienced staff and instructors you’ll meet will assist you with ongoing professional mentoring and, once the program is over, provide job search support to help you launch your career in Canada.
Beyond the direct education and career development opportunities the Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice provides, there’s a range of additional benefits you should know about:
- You’ll become a member of the Internationally Educated Social Workers Network (IESWN). As a member, you’ll be informed of professional development opportunities, events, workshops, announcements, and job postings for social workers.
- You’ll receive additional employment support, including ongoing assessment and counselling from our on-site Coordinator of Field Programming.
- You’ll be able to use Ryerson University’s Career Centre and Counselling and Referral Centre.
- You’ll gain access to networking opportunities with social service employers, other social workers employed in the field, Ryerson’s School of Social Work, the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers, and the Ontario Association of Social Workers.
- You’ll be able to get reference from placement supervisor and instructors to strengthen your employment prospects.
- 5 required courses
- 1 work placement*
- Cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 1.67+
*Refer to Work Placement above.
- A social work degree awarded outside of Canada and registration with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW)
- And a minimum of 1 year of paid accumulated employment in the social service field (abroad and/or in Canada)
- A social work degree awarded outside of Canada assessed as equivalent to a BSW or an MSW by the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW)
- And a minimum of 1 year of paid accumulated employment in the social service field (abroad and/or in Canada)
- A baccalaureate degree awarded outside of Canada (minimum of 3 years of university study) in the humanities or social sciences, and equivalent to a Canadian degree
- And a minimum of 2 years’ paid accumulated employment in the social service field (abroad and/or in Canada)
- proof of English proficiency at the required level
- proof of Ontario residency
- proof of eligibility to work in Canada
Students seeking admission to this program are also required to complete an application form and participate in a pre-assessment. Refer to How to Apply above.
“After applying to hundreds of jobs in the social services sector in the Greater Toronto Area, I did not receive any response. As a newcomer to Canada, I did not have any social or professional support in Toronto. The Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice helped me build on my skills and enhanced my understanding of the social services field in Canada. The program gave me the platform to learn from diverse peers and update my knowledge, and helped me regain my confidence. The practicum placement was a gateway into the field, where I got the opportunity to practice in the local context and apply what I learned in class. It also led to full-time employment shortly after graduation, which is a testament to the efforts of the program team, the commitment of the instructors, and the constant support I received.” – Shruti, Community Support Worker
“The Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice gave me a better awareness of my social location and its impact on my social work practice. It helped me enhance my writing skills and improve my interactive communication with clients through case simulations. I gained an understanding of social work practice in the Canadian context from an anti-oppressive framework, and learned about important Canadian legislation. It increased my understanding of decolonizing approaches when working with minority groups. My placement gave me important Canadian experience and I was able to prepare myself for job interviews by practicing with our field coordinator as well as mock interviews with real employers. Now I’m familiar with different Canadian agencies and their services through the workshops and have developed my understanding of Canadian social policy tools and models.” – Mitra, Child Protection Worker
“Before moving to Toronto, I had planned to pursue my dream of practicing social work in Canada, even though I had no idea how. I joined the program as soon as I learned about it, and I’m so happy about my decision. The IESW Program helped me pursue my dream. I learned about Canadian social issues, social policies, and all the necessary skills and knowledge for a career in social work. Workshops provided me with important information regarding current social work practice in Ontario. I improved my language skills, which helped make me a strong candidate during job interviews. IESW improved my self-confidence and helped me realize I have transferable knowledge and skills that can be applicable and useful in Canada. I got consistent support in placement and employment navigation, and I’m now a full-time community support worker at the agency where I wanted to work. The support I got from the IESW team enabled me to be where I am today. Kudos to the IESW team!” – Rahel, Community Support Worker
“The Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice helped me refresh a lot of the theories I had learned during my master’s degree over a decade ago. I also learned a lot of new concepts and terminology, including the importance of confidentiality and documentation in practice. A lot of assignments focused on my past experience in India and how it can be applied in the Canadian context. My field placement enabled me to gain much-needed Canadian experience and my supervisor at the placement acted as a reference when I was applying for the current job. Mock interviews helped me overcome my anxiety about job interviews and the program guided me in creating resumés and cover letters. Apart from all the theoretical and practical knowledge, what helped me the most in gaining employment was a structured approach to the job search.” – Smitha, Child Protection Worker
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 Ryerson 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 the following year (13 months). 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 Ryerson 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 2021–2022 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 Ryerson 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 Ryerson University.
What is the application deadline for the Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice?
The 2021–2022 deadline to apply for the Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice for is Friday, April 2, 2021.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
To find more about the centres that conduct the language assessments, visit the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks website.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-979-5000, ext. 554095, for further clarification.
Pathways for Internationally Educated Social Work Professionals (IESW)
Whether you reside in Ontario or you are planning to immigrate to Ontario, there is information and services and support you can access through the Internationally Educated Social Work Professionals (IESW) Bridging Program.
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.
Questions? Contact the IESW Program Assistant.
Phone: 416-979-5000, ext. 554095