Social Work Opportunities And Canada Immigration

Canada’s labour needs are the result of the following:

  • An ageing population
  • Low birth rates
  • A labour force nearing retirement age

These account for the type of occupations that are in high demand in Canada. Collectively, these factors necessitate the services of health workers.

Besides health workers, social workers are also in high demand. Social workers fulfill the important role of making services accessible to the people of Canada. For this reason, social workers are one of the most in-demand professions in Canada.

In 2018 alone, the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) licensed more than 70,000 social workers. The lion’s share of social workers during this year belonged to the 40-year old age bracket.

With applicants for social workers positions hovering just above 1.4% yearly, there is a need for more applicants.

What does this mean for you? It means that being a social worker may just be your ticket to Canada.

Which Provinces Have A High Demand For Social Workers?

In general, social workers are in demand throughout Canada. Hence, employment prospects for social workers will be good until 2028, according to Job Bank. While Canada currently does have its current pool of social workers, many are expected to reach retirement age.

This will leave a large number of social work vacancies that need to be filled.  

Some provinces and territories in Canada regulate the practice of social work. Others do not. Provinces that regulate social work are:

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Northwest Territories
  • Nova Scotia
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan

In these provinces, you may need to undergo further training and assessment before getting a license to practice social work. On the other hand, two provinces allow “voluntary certification and registration”. These provinces are:

  • Yukon
  • Nunavut

Social work is not a regulated profession in these provinces. Thus, you may practice social work in these provinces just by registering with the provincial regulatory authority for social work. No assessment or training will be required.

Registration and credential assessment is done by provincial regulatory authorities. Every Canadian province or territory has a regulatory authority for social workers. Below is a list of them by province or territory:

PROVINCEREGULATORY AUTHORITY (SOCIAL WORK)
AlbertaAlberta College of Social Workers
British ColumbiaBritish Columbia College of Social Workers
ManitobaManitoba College of Social Workers
New BrunswickNew Brunswick Association of Social Workers
Newfoundland and LabradorNewfoundland and Labrador Association of Social Workers
Northwest TerritoriesRegistrar, Professional Licensing Government of the Northwest Territories Department of Health and Social Services
Nova ScotiaNova Scotia College of Social Workers
NunavutNunavut Department of Health and Social Services Medical Registration Committee
OntarioOntario College of Social Workers and Social Services
Prince Edward IslandPrince Edward Island Social Work Registration Board
QuebecOrdre des travailleurs sociaux et thérapeutes conjugaux et familiaux du Québec
SaskatchewanSaskatchewan Association of Social Workers
YukonYukon Medical Council

How Much Do Social Workers Make In Canada?

As social work is an in-demand occupation, the salaries are pretty high compared to that of other skilled professions. The average take-home pay of social workers in Canada depends on the province in which they work.

At the time of writing, Alberta records the highest salary for social workers. Social workers alongside other workers in related sectors annually earn about 95,000.00 CAD on average.

In comparison, provinces in the North like Northwest Territories and Yukon pay social workers close to 90,000.00 CAD yearly. 

In Ontario and British Columbia, the average social worker could stand to make 75,000.000 CAD to 80,000.00 CAD a year. The figure for social worker salaries in the Maritimes is not too far from this.

What Roles Do Social Workers Fulfill In Canada?

Before you immigrate to Canada as a social worker, you might need to be aware of the duties and responsibilities.

A look at the National Occupational Classification (NOC) code for social workers (NOC 4152-A) could give you an idea.

ROLES OF SOCIAL WORKERS IN CANADA

Based on the duties and responsibilities outlined in the code, social workers in Canada:

  • Cater to individuals, couples, families, and communities in Canada
  • Help with the development of skills necessary for these parties to function in Canada
  • Refer these groups to the groups or services they need
  • Provide interventions like therapy and counselling
  • Be responders in incidences involving racism, joblessness, and poverty

These are the duties and responsibilities of social workers in Canada. Hence, if you are a social worker in the country, your potential employers will not just be government offices and social service agencies.

You could also be employed in:

  • Hospitals
  • Correctional facilities
  • Schools
  • Employee assistance organizations or programs
  • Aboriginal band councils

The skills social workers possess have a high degree of transferability. This is why there is a wide range of potential employers. As well, the high transferability of skills also allow you to take on the following professions in Canada. Having credentials related to social work, you could also work in the following professions:

OCCUPATIONNOC CODE
Social, community, and correctional service managerNOC 4243
Educational counsellorNOC 4033
Social workerNOC 4152-A
Family, marriage, (and other related) counsellorNOC 4153
Social and community service worker or facilitatorNOC 4212

How To Immigrate To Canada Aa A Social Worker

Social workers could immigrate to Canada through any Canadian skilled immigration program. The necessary steps will vary slightly for each. Nevertheless, the most crucial step is to have your credentials assessed.

Credential Assessment

GRADUATION DAY CREDENTIAL ASSESSENT FOR SOCIAL WORKER OPPORTUNITY IN CANADA

Credentials mean both your educational credentials and your credentials related to your profession.

Educational credentials need to be assessed to determine whether or not your education is equal to that of Canada’s. As well, the educational credential assessment (ECA) will be useful for getting you more CRS points for education.

An ECA is especially helpful and important for the Express Entry’s Federal Skilled Worker Program or FSWP.

As for your professional credentials, you need to submit these to a regulatory authority for assessment. Of course, this would depend on your desired province.

PROVINCEREGULATORY AUTHORITY (SOCIAL WORK)
AlbertaAlberta College of Social Workers
British ColumbiaBritish Columbia College of Social Workers
ManitobaManitoba College of Social Workers
New BrunswickNew Brunswick Association of Social Workers
Newfoundland and LabradorNewfoundland and Labrador Association of Social Workers
Northwest TerritoriesRegistrar, Professional Licensing Government of the Northwest Territories Department of Health and Social Services
Nova ScotiaNova Scotia College of Social Workers
NunavutNunavut Department of Health and Social Services Medical Registration Committee
OntarioOntario College of Social Workers and Social Services
Prince Edward IslandPrince Edward Island Social Work Registration Board
QuebecOrdre des travailleurs sociaux et thérapeutes conjugaux et familiaux du Québec
SaskatchewanSaskatchewan Association of Social Workers
YukonYukon Medical Council

Selecting Your Immigration Program

As a social worker, you could immigrate to Canada under the following programs for skilled immigration.

Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

Social work alongside other related professions is a “highly-skilled” occupation. Under the Federal Express Entry selection system, one program is specifically for highly-skilled occupations.

The Federal Skilled Worker Program allows skilled immigrants to be permanent residents of Canada in six to nine months. Under this program, you could immigrate as a social worker by meeting certain requirements. These are requirements in:

  • English or French language skills
  • Work experience

One of the selling points of the Federal Skilled Worker Program is this:

You do not need a job offer.

In this article, you will find everything you need to know about the Federal Skilled Worker Program.

Provincial Nominee Program

You can almost guarantee your immigration with a provincial nomination. A provincial nomination can bring you to your Canadian province of choice.

Also, you could benefit from a provincial nomination even if you are enrolled in the Federal Express Entry system. This is because a provincial nomination adds 600 CRS points to your profile. This almost guarantees that your profile will be selected from the Express Entry pool. 

Atlantic Immigration Pilot

If you want to be a social worker in one of Canada’s four Maritime provinces, the Atlantic Immigration Pilot is your best bet.

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot allows skilled workers to immigrate to:

  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Nova Scotia
  • Prince Edward Island

These provinces need social workers. Hence, it is easier to get a job offer from these provinces.

Rural And Northern Immigration Pilot Program

On the other hand, if you prefer the more rural parts of Canada, you could apply for permanent residence under the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Program.

This program was launched in 2019 to attract immigrants to the rural parts of:

  • Ontario
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • Saskatchewan
  • Alberta

At the time of writing, 11 rural communities in the aforementioned provinces are participating. You could learn more about the pilot program here.

Conclusion

Canada needs social workers.

Social workers fulfill a wide range of vital roles. For this reason, the Canadian government recognizes the significant contributions of social workers.

To attract more foreign-licensed social workers, the Canadian government has several immigration programs in place. As well, wage regulations ensure that the country’s social workers will be fairly compensated.

If you are a social worker looking to immigrate, look no further. Canada is open.

Choose Canada Magazine

Each member of our team at Choose Canada Magazine has been in Canada for over five years, and has helped dozens of people worldwide find their life in Canada.

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