Social Service Worker

2017/18 Program Handbook

Program Code: 0009
School of Health & Life Sciences and Community Services

Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning

This is a companion document to the current Conestoga College Student Guide

Program Handbook Guidelines

The purpose of this handbook is to provide students with program-specific details and other important information. The material in this handbook is accurate at the date of posting, and is applicable for the current academic year. Students will be informed of handbook changes that occur, if any, through college email. Program handbooks are updated yearly and students must check their program handbook for the current edition. 


To the School of Health & Life Sciences and Community Services

Your Bridge to Practice

bridge logo 

What Can This Mean For You?

  • The opportunity to begin, today, to become the professional you aspire to be.
  • The opportunity to learn in life-like settings and with real-life scenarios, rehearsing for the day when you will be in these real-life situations.
  • A unique inter-professional opportunity, given the number of different disciplines in the school. You will learn with, about and from your future colleagues.
  • An opportunity to take advantage of the state-of-the-art facilities, social and study spaces in our Cowan Health Sciences Centre, as well as other unique learning resources such as the Motz Emergency Service Bays in the Regional of Waterloo Paramedic Services Station and the Child Development Centre (Doon Campus), or the WeConnect Agora and Simulation Centre (Living Classroom at University Gates).
  • Your goal of being viewed by employers as a "preferred graduate" is up to you; your professors, support staff, administrative staff and college services look forward to supporting you as you journey from day one to your graduation.

Top 5 Expectations of You

1.    Use MyConestoga to Connect To:

Your Conestoga Email: (e.g. John Smith, Student Number 1234567,

  • This is the official communication vehicle regarding your academic requirements. Communication with Faculty/staff should only be through your Conestoga email account. Communication through other accounts may not be responded to. Check it regularly and respond as requested.


  • This is your resource for all course-based program information and course-based communication with your faculty.
  • Make eConestoga your partner in learning; this is your guide to all course activity.
  • Only course logistics should be communicated through eConestoga, all other email communication should be done through your Conestoga email.

Student Portal:

  • Find your final grade information, college tuition invoices, class schedules and absence reporting.

Practicum Health Requirements: (Go to "Services" and find "Practicum Services Link")

  • Keep track of your requirements on an ongoing basis; check that they are complete to allow you to go on your practicum (if applicable).

2. Know and Plan Around Your Academic Schedule With Your Family

Course Schedule:

  • Your schedule has been planned with many people and multiple considerations in mind.
  • Classes are typically scheduled from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Note: times for practicums follow work place schedules).

The Academic Year has critical dates: Please plan around these dates to ensure you are here when you need to be--including the potential need to be present for the two weeks after the semester ends if you might need to complete supplemental work to allow you to continue to the next semester. Program start and end dates, holidays and deadlines for course add/drop and withdrawal, are located on the website. Course changes (add/dropping) may also be made through the Student Portal under the "My Courses" tab.

Academic Dates
Fall 2017 Dates Winter 2018 Dates
Fall Orientation Week Aug. 28 – Sept. 1 Winter Orientation January 4
Fall Semester Classes Start September 5 Winter Semester Classes Start January 8
Student Success Week Oct. 23-27 Student Success Week Feb. 26-Mar. 2
Last Week of Semester December 11-15* Last Week of Semester April 16-20*
Intersession (no classes) Dec. 18- Jan. 3/18 Intersession (no classes) April 23-May 4
*Programs with exams outside this time will be notified by the academic area.

3. Be the Professional You Wish To Become - From Day One

Civility, respect and professional behaviours will be key in the quality of your learning experience—and a future employer's first and lasting impression.

Professional Dress & Conduct: See Professional Conduct section for professionalism expectations for your program. The college's Student Guide sets out Student Code of Conduct for our community at Conestoga.

Pre-practicum Health Requirements: Pay attention to the deadlines listed on your documents. Complete as required; without these, you will not be able to progress to your practicum and your program completion will be in jeopardy. 

Social Media: Use responsibly. See Standards of Conduct section of the Handbook.

4. Attend To Enhance Success

Attendance Expectations: Attendance for class, labs and practicum supports student learning and your experience as a future professional. See attendance and student success strategies section in the handbook.

Absence from Evaluations: Must be reported in the Student Portal before your scheduled evaluation time. See attendance for evaluation section in the handbook.

Request for Accommodation for Religious Holidays: Request must be submitted to your Program Coordinator as per course schedule. See Religious Holidays sections in the Program Handbook.

5. Take Responsibility for Your Academic Status

Student Records: If you have questions about your student record, academic status and or program withdrawals, speak to your Program Coordinator.

Fee Payments: Payment is required to attend classes. Check your Student Portal for invoices.

Credit Transfer/Exemptions: Conestoga supports the transferability of academic credits between programs and educational institutions through recognized transfer pathways, articulation agreements and course-to-course equivalences. Please refer to the Student Guide for more information.

Student Forms: To access forms go to the Student Forms page.

Academic Policies & Procedures: May be found under Policies and Procedures.

Student Affairs Policies & Procedures: May be found at the Student Affairs page.

Top 5 Resources for You

1. Your Teaching Team

Contact Information: Is posted in eConestoga and in your Program Handbook (Relationships Section in the Handbook)

Appointments: Making appointments (in person, by phone, email) helps to ensure your desired resource is available.
Email Inquiries: will be answered within two business days.
Urgent Need for Help: Program Assistants are available to help you reach one of the Teaching Team (contact information in Relationships Section of the Handbook)

2. Counselling and Services for Personal Needs

College Counselling: Professionally-trained counsellors can help you achieve your educational goals—for such common support as stress management, anxiety, depression, transition issues, family issues, etc. Counselling is free, voluntary and confidential. Arrange to see a Counsellor quickly if academic or personal problems stand in the way of your college success. To make an appointment, visit or call Doon-Room 1A101, 519-748-5220, ext. 3360, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.. Check the counselling services website for more information.
Good2Talk: Confidential 24-hour phone line for stresses big and small. Call 1-866-925-5454.
Conestoga Security: Provides a safe and secure work and learning environment. Call 519-748-5220 ext. 3357. Refer to the Student Guide for Conestoga's Safety and Security Services and procedures.
Student Financial Services: Student Financial Services can help you by providing you with options to finance your post-secondary education.
CSI Food Bank: The CSI Food Bank is an emergency food relief program for current Conestoga students.
Health Services: Your family doctor on campus. Check out the services that they offer on their website or call 519-748-5220 ext. 3679. Services available Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.A full-time health nurse is on site.
Facility Information: Refer to the Student Guide for information on after-hours parking, classroom and computer labs.

3. Accessibility Services

Students with Documented Disabilities are encouraged to book an appointment with Accessibility Services to access accommodations –early in your program. Disability-related documentation will be required to book an appointment. Go to the Accessibility Services webpage for more information.
Adaptive Technology Aids and Special Facilities: Adaptive Aids are arranged through Accessibility Services; handicapped–accessible washrooms are located throughout the campus. Contact the Adaptive Technology Lab for more information on adaptive technology aids.

4. Student Study Spaces and General Supports

Cowan Health Sciences Centre (F-wing)
Student Lounge Space: Enjoy seats on each of the three floors. Plugs for laptops and charging stations are located throughout these areas.

Student Meeting Room Space: There is both formal and informal student study space available for use within the Cowan Health Sciences Centre. For more information on the availability of this space, please go to the Interprofessional Resources Office (2F16).

General Access Computers and printers are located in two areas:

  • 1st Floor—in the student lounge area with photocopier
  • 2nd Floor—at the Customer Service Desk and kiosk area

Open Access Lab, 2nd Floor, 2F18.
This is available on a come and go basis for health & pre-health programs practicing key skills. It is open from 8:00am-4:00pm. Book with an Open Access Staff.
Lockers are available with your tuition; important to store your extra clothes and books, etc. so that you can be at your professional best in the lab. Learn how to obtain a locker.
Information Technology: IT Service Desk—1E12 (provides supports & general assistance with college-related needs such as Email, Network accounts, connectivity & wireless printing. Go to the Web IT Service Desk for more information.

5. Services for Students

Library Resource Centre: Located on 2nd Floor B Wing; Go to the Library Resource Centre page for more information.
International Education Office: Check out the International Education Office for services available to you.
Learning Commons: Your one-stop resource for academic services and resources, such as Math, Writing Skills, Peer Tutors and resources for APA. Check out their website or Access through MyConestoga.
Student Life: Get involved and shape your experience. Visit the Student Life page or Connect to MyConestoga for your Co-Curricular Record.
Student Financial Services: Your one-stop resource to apply for student awards, bursaries, and scholarships apply early to increase your chances.
Bookstore: Your location to buy books (check out their options including used books), clothing for your program and general supplies. Find it in the A wing, just inside Door 1.
Co-op and Career Advising: Your resource for Co-op Placements (if you are in a degree); your source of help to look for summer jobs or future careers and gain help preparing your resume. Check out the Co-op and Career Services site for more information.

Letter to Students

Dear Social Service Worker Student,

Welcome to the Social Service Worker (SSW) Program. You have worked hard to be accepted into the Social Services Worker Program at Conestoga College and we commend you on your success.

This handbook has been prepared to provide further information about academic standards, guidelines and processes specific to the Social Services Program. Reading, understanding and following the information in this handbook is an important first step in your continued success in this program and your chosen profession. The handbook has been compiled with careful consideration for your personal and professional growth during your two years at the college. If you do not understand any of the information in this handbook, please ask the faculty, Program Coordinator or Chair for an explanation.

Use the index in this handbook as your guide and the contents as your continuous reference as you proceed through the program. The Social Services Worker Program faculty will refer to the handbook often, but the responsibility for knowing the program standards is ultimately yours.

In addition to the Social Services Program Standards Handbook, the Conestoga Student Guide outlines important policies and procedures for you to follow. The Social Services Program Standards Handbook is a supplement to, but not a replacement for, the Conestoga Student Guide.

We are here to help you have a successful two years. Should you experience difficulty or need assistance in any area of your studies, please come and speak with us, and we will work with you to help you reach your career goal of becoming a social service worker.

All the very best to you in your studies.


Goranka Vukelich, Dean, Community Services,

Cathy O'Toole, Chair, Human Services, 

& the Social Services Worker Faculty Team

Program Overview

Program Description

Using a thoughtfully constructed program design that draws upon evidence-based research in the field of social work and adult education, Conestoga College's SSW Program has been designed to prepare students for an exciting career in the field of social work. In addition to various classroom learning experiences, students enrolled in Conestoga's SSW Program have the benefit of being exposed to exciting field placement experiences in the community that will strengthen their knowledge and develop their capabilities.

Program Learning Outcomes

Successful completion of this program will enable the graduate to:

  1. Develop and maintain professional relationships which adhere to professional, legal and ethical standards aligned to social service work.
  2. Identify strengths, resources, and challenges of individuals, families, groups and communities to assist them in achieving their goals.
  3. Recognize diverse needs and experiences of individuals, groups, families and communities to promote accessible and responsive programs and services.
  4. Identify current social policy, relevant legislation, and political, social, and/or economic systems and their impacts on service delivery.
  5. Advocate for appropriate access to resources to assist individuals, families, groups and communities.
  6. Develop and maintain positive working relationships with colleagues, supervisors and community partners.
  7. Develop strategies and plans that lead to the promotion of self -care, improved job performance and enhanced work.
  8. Integrate social group work and group facilitation skills across a wide range of environments, supporting growth and development of individuals, families and communities.
  9. Work in communities to advocate for change strategies that promote social and economic justice and challenge patterns of oppression and discrimination.
  10. Access information in order to keep current in a continuously changing field.
  11. Write comprehensive and grammatically correct reports.
  12. Acquire an increased appreciation and understanding of the concepts and values required to enhance the quality of life for self and others in the home, workplace and the local and global community through an exploration of selected broad goals of education in the areas of aesthetics, civic life, culture, personal development, society, work and the economy, science and technology.

Social Services Worker Program Map

Program Map describes your learning journey with three important components:

  1. All courses focus on you demonstrating development towards the program outcomes and capabilities through your program journey.
  2. There are themes for your learning that will inform you on the courses you will take to develop program capabilities.
  3. Each semester has a theme that creates milestones for your learning within a semester and your journey from one semester to the next semester and ultimately to your readiness to graduate.

Level 1

Introduction to Professional Practice

Level 2

Fundamentals of Professional Practice

Level 3

Expansion of Professional Practice

Level 4

Consolidation of Professional Practice

Self-Awareness Introduction to Professional Practice     Group Work: Practical Applications
Working with Individuals, groups, families and communities Group Process and Dynamics Working with Diverse Populations Counselling Interventions Violence, Abuse and Neglect
  Community Organization I Group Work: Assessment, Intervention and evaluation  
Understanding Families: A Systems Approach Intervention in Family Practice
Evidenced Based Practices Social Work and the Law Techniques of Interviewing and Assessment Social Work Values and Ethics Sustainability for the Not-for-Profit Sector
    Simulation in Practice I Simulation in Practice II
Collaborative and inter-professional practice Social Services Systems I Field Work I and Field Seminar: Preparing for Professional Practice Field Work II (Social Services) and Field Seminar: Expansion of Professional Practice Field Work III (Social Services) and Field Seminar: Consolidation of Professional Practice
  Safety in the Workplace    
Professional Capacity and Autonomy College Reading and Writing Skills  Elective: General Elective Professional Communication Elective: General Education
Developmental Psychology      

Program Capabilities

  • AdaptabilityAdvocacy & Mentorship                                            
  • Research, analyze and influence policy                                    
  • Facilitation skills
  • Reflective Practice                                                                           
  • Understanding of outcome based interventions                     
  • Professional decision making
  • Ability to work with diverse populations                                        
  • Understanding of outcome based interventions                     
  • Enhanced professional communication
  • Community and individual capacity building                                 
  • Ability to utilize and evaluate research                                    
  • Fund development
  • Professional leadership                                                                   
  • Strong professional identity and autonomy                            
  • Use technology in workplace
  • Critical thinking                                                                               
  • Ability to manage case files

Program Design for Your Cohort

Students can find their program design on the student Portal by following the steps below:

  1. Log in to Student Portal
  2. Click on 'My Courses' tab
  3. Select 'View Progress Report' button

Courses are listed by level/semester. Students can also view courses for the most current program design for this academic year on the Conestoga College website. To find these courses, students need to scroll down the page to the 'Program Courses'.

Pathways and Further Post-secondary Education Opportunities

Conestoga pathways enable students to build on their academic achievements in order to earn a degree or additional credential. Pathways are formed through agreements between Conestoga programs or partner institutions. View the transfer agreement opportunities for this program.

There are a number of different opportunities available to students who want to continue studying at Conestoga. Whether you wish to transfer to another program or apply to a new program after graduation, Conestoga has established pathways to help you meet your goals. Conestoga Pathways information is available on Conestoga's website.

Employment Opportunities

Graduates find employment as practical front-line service providers in a variety of social service settings such as residential services for special populations, women's crisis services, programs for children and youth with behavioural and/or emotional challenges, and services for the unemployed.

For more details on related occupations, job market information and career opportunities; see the Government of Canada website.


Communication with Faculty

Students may communicate with faculty via email, voice mail or in person. Faculty offices are located in 3B. As faculty schedules vary due to teaching responsibilities, it is recommended that students email faculty to make an appointment. Faculty will attempt to respond to all student email and/or voice mail within two working days. All communications should reflect the professional standards of the social services field.

All students are supplied with a college email address.

Faculty Contact Information
Patrice Butts, Program Coordinator Ext. 3260
Linda Juodvalkis Ext. 2423
Shelley Adams Ext. 3290
Administration Contact Information
Dom Parisi, 3B Reception Ext. 3182
Jaymie Wilson-Neil Ext. 3765
Cathy O'Toole, Chair of Human Services Ext. 3603

Student E-mail

All students are supplied with a college e-mail address. Use the College e-mail address ONLY when communicating with faculty. Non-college e-mail addresses such as hotmail, yahoo, etc, are not acceptable. Students are expected to check their college e-mail and their eConestoga email regularly as most official communication will be via this method.  Email communications which disregard proper spelling and grammar are inappropriate forms of communication and should not be used. Please remember that all email communication should be professional in nature.

Faculty Availability

Program faculty offices are located in 3B. Students are welcome to see individual faculty to discuss course work, assignments or just to say hello. During the first several days during the start of the semester faculty will explain how you can contact them outside of class time. As faculty have diverse teaching schedules, it is best to make an appointment to ensure they are available.

IT has installed telephones for internal use outside the entry to the faculty workspaces in 3B. Beside this phone will be a faculty directory with extension numbers only. If you have an appointment with a faculty member, please call to confirm that you have arrived. Please do not enter until you have confirmation that the faculty member is at their pod. If you do not have an appointment, please call the person you wish to meet with to confirm that they are present and can see you. If you do not reach them, please leave a message. In the interest of respecting the work environment for everyone in this area, please do not wander into faculty workspaces looking for them.

Student Engagement

Student Concerns/Issues

We appreciate that concerns/issues may arise during the learning experience. Our goal is to collaborate—students with faculty and staff—to resolve situations of concerns quickly and to learn and improve from these situations.

To achieve this goal, we need an effective problem-solving environment. This means:

a.     When a situation of concern arises, it needs to be raised in timely manner and discussed by the individuals involved. This is the most important area for effective problem solving.

**Problem-solving closest to the individual associated with the learning is the place to start.

b.      Please see the "Student Concerns/Issues" section in the Student Rights and Responsibilities chapter of the college Student Guide for further details to be followed for the informal and formal procedures for the resolution of concerns and issues.

c.       Please note that issues and concerns related to a placement site, its operation or its employees should first be brought to the attention of the Conestoga Field Placement Supervisor or Program Coordinator, subject to the additional procedures outlined in the following Sections on "Professionalism" and "Concerns Regarding Safety or Care/Service for Clients during a Practicum/Field Placement".

Student Representation

Conestoga Students Inc. (CSI) and Conestoga agree that a student has the right to invite a member of CSI to a student/faculty meeting, provided that 24 hours advance notice is given to faculty. This advance notice will ensure that all parties will have an opportunity to adequately prepare for the meeting.

PAC (Program Advisory Committee)

Each program at Conestoga has a Program Advisory Committee (PAC), which is made up of industry and academic representatives, as well as current students. They meet several times a year to discuss the direction in which that industry is heading and any improvements that can be made to keep the program current. This helps to ensure that students are learning material that is relevant to their industry.

At the beginning of each year, the coordinator of the program will ask for student volunteers. The coordinator will decide which students will represent years one and two. The student attendees are important members of the committee and are expected to be present at the meetings. Students must prepare and submit a report based on guidelines provided by the Program Chair/Coordinator which will be presented at the meeting. Students are expected to be professional, dress in business attire and engage in discussions.

WIHSC (Waterloo Interprofessional Health & Community Student Collaborative)

Conestoga College offers many unique and exciting opportunities for personal and professional growth. One of the things that contribute to the excellence of this college is the host of exciting extra-curricular opportunities that add to the culture of this fine institution. WIHSC (Waterloo Interprofessional Health & Community Student Collaborative) is one such club whose members strive to 'learn with, from, and about' each other.

Membership of this active group is comprised of students enrolled in health, community, and social sciences programs at the Doon campus. Some of the most popular initiatives that this group regularly engages in are interactive simulation exercises, peer-mentoring, guest speakers, paper case studies and monthly meetings. To find out more about this exciting opportunity, please visit the WIHSC website. The website includes information on past events (pictures and videos) as well as how to get involved. Get involved, have fun, and learn more about the team members you will work with upon graduation! For more information, please contact your Program Coordinator.

Student Feedback

Student feedback is an essential component of our continuous improvement process. Our opportunities for student feedback include:

Key Performance Indicators

All college programs in the province are evaluated using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) through the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD). This survey is conducted each academic year in select classes. Strategic goals to improve the programs are developed from these results. This data and other data specific to the campus and the program/school are collected so that Conestoga College can continually improve quality.

Student Appraisal of Teaching

The Student Appraisal of Teaching (SAT) allows direct feedback from students on teaching for a particular course. Completion of the SAT form gives teachers and academic managers valuable information to use for the improvement of teaching at Conestoga.

The SAT process occurs in the last one-third of the semester. Typically about one-quarter of the faculty is appraised per term, and each has two courses selected by their academic managers for appraisal. All teachers have a SAT review at least once every two years. The SAT process is managed by the Office of Institutional Research and Planning using an online survey system specifically designed for course/teacher evaluations.  After all marks for the semester have been submitted, a summary of results goes to the academic manager to be shared with the faculty member. Continuing Education students may have an opportunity to complete a SAT form at the conclusion of each Continuing Education course.

Class Cancellations

Class Cancellations Due to Faculty Absence

All class cancellations due to faculty absences will be posted in the Student Portal on the left hand side of first page which a student sees after logging in. These notices in the Student Portal will be the only general notifications of class cancellations due to faculty absences.

Faculty who will be absent will not be informing students of class cancellations through eConestoga.

Class Cancellations Due to Inclement Weather

College closure due to inclement weather will be announced on local radio stations (92.9; 88.3; 1460; 96.7, 105.3, and 1240). It is up to staff and students to listen for campus closures. If the college is closed a message will be left on the campus switchboard after office hours. A notice will also be placed on the college website.

Personal Notifications of Class Cancellations

Students have the option of receiving special emails or SMS text messages notifying them of class cancellations due to faculty absences. To receive such personal notifications students must subscribe to this special service.

To subscribe:

  • Log in to the Student Portal
  • Select Notifications under the Profile tab
  • Select the method by which you would like to be notified
  • Click Update.

Note: To change the email address to which these notifications will be sent, select My Addresses under the Profile Tab, and change the default email address.

Standards of Conduct and Professional Practice

Professional Standards

The Social Service Worker (SSW) Program provides both academic study and practical training to prepare students for careers in working in the field of social work. Throughout the program, students are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and to apply themselves to academic achievement. Professionals function in an independent and interdependent environment. The fundamental responsibility of a student is to gain the necessary knowledge and skills to be a competent social service worker upon graduation. As students preparing to become professionals, it is imperative that behaviours and attitudes reflect standards that are endorsed by Conestoga College and your chosen profession. As a Conestoga College Social Service Worker student, there are three areas of conduct you are expected to follow; Academic Conduct, Professional Conduct, and Social/Behavioural Conduct. Additionally, as a SSW student, you are expected to dress professionally both in class as well as on placement. The expected dress code is one that is typically associated with the dress code of the social services agencies.

As a student of Conestoga College you are a member of the college community and as such you have received a Conestoga Student Guide that includes Student Rights, Student Responsibilities, and Student Code of Conduct. The Student Responsibilities section includes detailed information regarding plagiarism, cheating, and academic dishonesty. It is essential that you review this section and familiarize yourself with these responsibilities. It is expected that your conduct as a student will be reflective of the responsibilities listed. If you have any questions regarding any of them, please contact your Program Coordinator.

Professional Behaviour

Each student in the Social Service Worker program is expected to exhibit behaviour consistent with the basic values and principles of social service work practice as described in the Code of Ethics and the Standards of Practice of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. This includes behaviour in the classroom, behaviour and qualities reflected in written assignments and presentations, in online communication, email and social media, and during all activities and events related to the College and the community. Student behaviour that violates any of the ethical principles of social service work practice raises concerns about a student's readiness and perhaps suitability for the social service profession.

Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice

As a Social Service Worker student you are preparing yourself to enter a profession that has a Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice that guide behaviours for all professionals within this field. It is the expectation of all students and faculty of Conestoga College's Social Service Worker program that we, as practitioners, will incorporate and function within the guidelines of these professional standards of ethical practice.

The Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice for social service workers in Ontario can be accessed on the Ontario College of Social Workers.  

Conestoga College, School of Health & Life Sciences and Community Services, has been given the mandate to prepare Social Service Workers. The Province of Ontario expects the College to graduate social service providers who meet the standards that have been established for this profession. The standards include competency in field placement.

In addition to all Student Responsibilities found in the Conestoga Student Guide, SSW students have the following obligations:

  • Respect the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice for social service workers in Ontario (see link above);
  • Complete the learning objectives, tests, assignments and all other forms of student work, with honesty and professional integrity;
  • Attend class, and field placement as scheduled;
  • Actively engage in classroom learning processes;
  • Demonstrate ethical and professional behaviour while attending class, and field placement;
  • Protect the integrity of the Program and the College;
  • Maintain the confidentiality of all classroom and field placement experiences, including use of any form of social media, and;
  • Seek clarification from faculty/administration when unsure of any of these standards.

    As an SSW student, please note that all expectations referred to above and found in the Conestoga Student Guide apply equally to field placement experiences and to all work/activities related to field placement experiences as they relate to clients and staff, their person and/or property.

Social Service Work – A Regulated Profession

  • The Social Work and Social Service Work Act (the "Act") was passed in 1998 and was fully proclaimed in the year 2000.
  • Under this legislation social service workers are members of a regulated profession, just as teachers, nurses, dental hygienists, massage therapists and midwives are members of regulated professions.
  • According to the Act, to use the title "social service worker" or to represent yourself as a social service worker, you must be a member of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW), the regulatory body for the profession.
  • Social service workers and other professionals are regulated to protect the public from incompetent, unqualified or unfit practitioners.
  • Regulation defines the practice of the profession and determines the requirements and qualifications to practice the profession.
  • Practitioners of a regulated profession are accountable to practice in accordance with a code of ethics and standards of practice.
  • Regulated professionals must demonstrate their continuing competence to practice their professions.
  • There are benefits of being a regulated professional in addition to the responsibilities.
  • Benefits of membership in the OCSWSSW include the authority to use the title social service worker, being issued a certificate of registration, and receiving the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice Handbook, the annual report and regular newsletters, which contain updates about pertinent issues and educational information. Members have the opportunity to: vote in College elections, stand for election to Council, and attend the Annual Meeting and Education Day. A member may also contact the College when the member is confronted with a practice dilemma.
  • Increasingly, employers are requiring membership in a regulatory body such as the OCSWSSW. As clients and consumers become better informed, many now choose to see a regulated professional he/she knows is accountable to a regulatory body.

For more information contact: Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers or 1-877-828-9380 or 416-972-9882.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

Academic honesty is expected and required of all Conestoga students. In order to maximize your success as a student, it is critical that you familiarize yourself with the Academic Integrity Policy found in the Conestoga Student Guide. This guide has been provided to you on our College website. The Academic Integrity Policy provides a detailed description of the following:

  • Scope of academic integrity,
  • What academic integrity means,
  • What types of behaviours constitute a breach of academic integrity,
  • The penalties associated with breaching academic integrity.

After reading this information, if you do not fully understand what is meant by academic integrity, and what is required of you to maintain academic integrity, please speak with a faculty member or your program Coordinator. Please note that maintaining academic integrity is very important, and that it is your responsibility as a Conestoga student to know the Academic Integrity Policy and to initiate help if you do not fully understand it.

Below are a few hints to help you avoid breaching academic integrity.

  • Make sure that you recognize information that requires referencing.
Example Required Referencing
Milk is good for you. General information in the public domain. Does not require referencing.

"According to Health Canada milk beverages provide the nutrients needed for healthy bones and optimal health".

Health Canada. (2008). Canada's food guide: Milk and alternatives. Retrieved May 17, 2011 from  

Direct quote right from a published source. Requires a reference.

Consuming milk every day provides the nutrients that you need for healthy bones and optimal health.

Health Canada. (2008). Canada's food guide: Milk and alternatives. Retrieved May 17, 20011 from  

Information that has been put into your own words, but offers information outside of public domain related with specialized knowledge. Requires a reference.
  • Whenever you refer to material from another source, whether book, journal article, video, newspaper, or electronic publications, you must acknowledge your source using proper citations and references. The APA style is the format most often used in the health and social sciences. Please visit the Conestoga Learning Commons for assistance with the APA format.
  • If you work collaboratively with others on an assignment, including in class assignments that expect independent submission, make sure that you do not copy words or ideas from others intentionally or by accident.
  • Make sure that you read the Academic Integrity Policy located in the Conestoga Student Guide, and that you fully understand it. The policy describes additional behaviours that represent a breach of academic integrity.

Copyright – What Students Need to Know

Photocopying and scanning at Conestoga are governed by the Copyright Act, an agreement with Access Copyright, and the Association of Canadian Community Colleges' Fair Dealing Policy.

Under the terms of our Access Copyright license which gives the broadest permission:

You can photocopy or scan the following:

  • Up to 10% of most published works
  • One chapter that is greater than 10%, but no more than 20% of the book
  • One article, short story, play, poem or essay from a book, magazine or journal issue containing other works
  • One newspaper article or page
  • One entry from an encyclopedia, dictionary, annotated bibliography or similar reference work
  • One drawing, sculpture, painting, print, architectural work of art or work of artistic craftsmanship from a larger volume containing other works.

Cumulative Copying

If you copy 10% of a book today, 10% next week, 10% the week after that, and so on, this is called cumulative copying and it is not allowed. The copy limits apply to an entire academic year, so once you reach the limit for an item, you can't copy more until the next academic year.

You cannot copy or scan the following:

  • Workbooks or study guides that are intended for one-time use
  • Instruction manuals
  • Sheet music and original artistic works including photographs or prints
  • Advertisements
  • Business cases
  • Any of the items on the Access Copyright Exclusions list

You can find all of this information and more on the Copyright for Students web page.

If you have any questions about copyright or the limits of copying on campus, contact James Yochem, Copyright Coordinator, at or 519-748-5220 ext. 3746.

Safe Practice

Safe practice is a hallmark of professional practice. It is an expectation of everyone who is or wants to be a professional.

There are a number of policies and procedures associated with practical training in your program that have been developed to ensure your safety and the safety (physical and emotional) of those around you. These will be reviewed with you during your program.

The following basic procedures are outlined for your attention and follow-through:

  1. Your personal safety begins with the use of professional attire and foot wear and with your attention to the health and safety expectations that may be identified throughout the college. 
  2. Help us have a safe and pleasant environment by wiping up spills, by ensuring lap top cords do not snake across walking areas and by reporting equipment or facility problems when you see them.
    Concerns such as these in the Cowan Health Sciences Centre may be reported to an employee in the Interprofessional Resources team.
  3. Specific dress codes, personal protective equipment and specific codes of behavioral conduct may apply to certain programs; failure to follow these may result in your inability to participate in a lab, class or experiential learning activity.  
  4. Safe work practices are to be followed during all training; follow the direction of your instructors. If you have a practicum, your Clinical Instructor/Responsible Faculty/Preceptor will ensure that you are aware of safe practices and safety precautions and procedures. This includes problem-solving by the Responsible Faculty and Program Coordinator with the college's Occupational Health & Safety Department as required. For example, should outside temperatures during the summer become unusually hot, very high temperatures may occur in some workplaces; this could require that specific steps be taken to ensure a safe working environment. 
  5. All safety-related accidents, incidents, and near misses must be reported to the Instructor-in-Charge immediately. This is an opportunity to problem-solve about how to avoid these areas of concern for the future.

Student Protection Acknowledgement

A Student Protection Acknowledgement confirmation pop-up will appear when a student logs into the Student Portal on a yearly basis. This will direct students to policies and procedures relevant to their academic responsibilities. All Conestoga College wide academic policies and procedures are listed on the college website under "About Conestoga", "Policies and Procedures". 

Students are advised to review and comply with all policies and procedures, including the following: 

  • Academic Dispute and Resolution Policy & Procedure
  • Academic Integrity Policy & Violation of Academic Integrity Procedure 
  • Academic Recognition Policy
  • Academic Credential Procedure
  • Clearance of Academic Deficiency Policy & Procedure
  • Co-operative Education Policy
  • Discontinuance Policy & Procedure
  • Eligibility to Participate in Co-op Work Terms Policy & Procedure
  • Evaluation of Student Learning Policy & Procedure
  • Grading Procedure
  • Graduation Requirements and Convocation Procedure
  • Honours Policy & Procedure
  • Program Withdrawal and Refund Procedure
  • Student Code of Conduct Policy
  • Student Concerns and Issues Policy & Procedure
  • Student Fees Policy & Student Fee Invoicing and Payment Procedure
  • Student Feedback Policy

Students must follow all of the policies and procedures for Conestoga College and it is expected that faculty will accept, fulfill and enforce these standards.

Professional Conduct - Use of Social Media and Cell Phones

To support a quality and respectful learning environment both in the classroom and in field placement, the use of cell phones and laptop computers for social networking should only occur during break times, before/after class, outside of children's play areas (indoors/outdoors) and during formal break time in field placement.

Laptops and other forms of technology may be used in the classroom when the use pertains to the content and processes of learning facilitated by the professor/team member. If your technology use is disruptive to the class, the faculty/staff may ask you to leave the class until such time that you are able to re-engage in the learning process. 

Social Media Policy

  • Social media has many advantages for a professional. It can be used to network, to resource information and keep current
  • As a student and future professional, it is essential to maintain professional boundaries in all communication, including Social Media.


  • According to the Ontario College of Teachers (2011), "Electronic messages are not anonymous. They can be tracked, misdirected, manipulated and live forever on the internet. Social media sites create and archive copies of every piece of content posted, even when deleted from on-line profiles. Once information is digitalized, the author relinquishes all control." The same organization also indicates "Online identities and actions are visible to the public and can result in serious repercussions or embarrassment. As the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Ontario notes, users may intend to share their online existence solely within their own network, but in theory anyone can access the user's musings, photos and information. Further, the words can be altered, forwarded and misquoted. "

Ontario College of Teachers. (2011). Professional Advisory-Use of Electronic Communication and Social Media. Retrieved May 12, 2015, from

Ensure that your posts reflect you as the professional you are and wish to become – if a potential employer were to see your posts.

  1. Many types of social media encourage instantaneous, casual dialogue. It is important to remember that even an innocent comment may be easily misunderstood.
  2. Assume that information you post or send can be accessed or altered by anyone.
  3. Consider whether any posting may reflect poorly on you, your school, or your profession.
  4. Avoid online criticism of other students, colleagues, professors or field placements.
  5. Avoid impulsive, inappropriate or heated comments.
  6. Pictures should not be taken, posted to social media sites or shared without the express permission of all individuals involved.
  7. Remember that online sites you visit are not anonymous.
  8. Make sure your on-line name and email reflect professionalism.
  9. Ensure that your postings will not be considered harassment or defamation of a peer, colleague, faculty or others.

    Maintain privacy of all care and service activities when in practical work experiences:
  1. Do not take or post any pictures while on placement or involved in lab activities
  2. Maintain client-provider relationships and boundaries. The addition of a client to a 'friendship" status online is unacceptable.

Please respect the fact that your faculty and staff will not invite you to their personal web pages when you are a current student, nor will they accept any invitations to your personal sites (Keep faculty and staff as resources to connect with after you have graduated or after you have left the college)

Cell Phone Policy

Students should respect their professors and other instructors by following program policy and not use their cell phones for personal use during class time. This is representative of the professional manner in which you are expected to act as you prepare to enter the workforce.

Students will not bring their cell phone or technology device into a test or examination, unless required for the examination and approved by the faculty. Phones should be left in your locker or left in your bag at the front of the classroom. In the event of an urgent need to keep your cell phone with you during a test (parents with young children, students experiencing a family emergency, etc.) please speak to your professor as soon as you enter the examination room. Those who have been permitted to bring a phone into the classroom will likely be asked to either leave the phone with the professor, or they may be permitted to leave their phone out on their desk where it is visible to the professor and proctors. In any case, students are not permitted to touch or answer the phone without raising their hand to ask for the professor/proctor's permission. If you are found to have a cell phone in your possession during an examination that has not been declared, you will be asked to leave the examination room, and will be given a zero on the assessment.

Attendance and Student Success Strategies


In view of the emphasis on experiential learning and group projects as well as the students' commitment to their own learning, regular attendance in classes, placement, and any other learning activities organized by the program is imperative. Faculty in the program fully support the premise that less than adequate attendance in one or more aspects of the program's activities is likely to impact negatively on students' achievement of course outcomes. Students who are absent from class or field placement place themselves in academic jeopardy in meeting the learning objectives as stipulated by the program.

If extenuating circumstances require students to miss a class, please note that it is the student's responsibility to share this information with faculty and to acquire any missed information.

Students are expected to attend all scheduled classes, labs, and placement days unless they are sick or attending to a serious personal matter. In these instances they are expected to contact program faculty or their placement supervisor to make them aware of their absence and to familiarize themselves with what they have missed.

Because of the nature of the courses taught in the Social Services Program with the emphasis on skill training, value orientation, as well as the expansion of related knowledge, regular attendance at classes is critical to success in the program. Guests, family members, etc. are not allowed in the classroom. Opportunities to actively participate in a variety of experiential exercises, such as role playing, and group presentations, each of which requires the students' active participation, relate as well to the importance of regular attendance.


In order to be respectful to both fellow students and to faculty, students are expected to arrive on time for class and field placement. Punctuality is essential and if this continues to be a problem, students will be asked to meet with the Program Coordinator.

Attendance for Evaluations

An evaluation is defined as a test, exam, presentation or any other formal assessment that requires your presence in a class or lab. Evaluations are critical components of each course and overall success for you in your Program.

The School's approach to requirements for attendance at evaluations reflects the expectation that as emerging professionals, students must demonstrate a professional attitude and attention to evaluations, in the same manner that expectations for future work as professional will require attention to workplace procedures. Consequences for missed evaluations are balanced against reasonable support where it is warranted.

In order to support student success:

  • Evaluation and presentation dates are scheduled and communicated at the beginning of each semester.
  • Unplanned extenuating circumstances involving the college, the program or the faculty that may require changes to the course schedule will be communicated to students.

In support of the development of professionalism, students are required to take all evaluations at the scheduled times.

  • Students who make personal commitments that conflict with the evaluation dates or assignment deadlines do so at their own risk.
  • There will be no special arrangements made for students with personal conflicts (e.g. work, family commitments or vacation plans).
  • Students who wish to reschedule an evaluation or a presentation due to a religious holiday are required to discuss the situation with faculty within the first three weeks of the semester.
  • Academic accommodations are provided to students with documented disabilities through the Accessibility Office.

Notification for Absence from Evaluations

Students are required to notify the program of absence from any evaluation for any reason.

  • Notification must be received prior to the start of the evaluation.
  • Failure to do so will result in a mark of zero being assigned.

Notification procedure

Log into the student portal and click on the Absence tab and indicate that you will be absent from class on a day that has an evaluation. You will receive a confirmation email that you have recorded your absence for that day.


  • Your professor will be aware of your absence from an evaluation by your lack of attendance and because you have entered your absence using the online Absence Recording System on the Student Portal.
  • The Absence Recording System shows you as being absent for the day, starting from the time that you record your absence. (For example if you record your absence for that day at 11:00 a.m. the system will show you as being absent for all classes starting after 11:00 a.m. that day.) If you are then going to be present again for some later class, you will need to bring your presence to the attention of your professor in that later class.)
  • The earliest that you may record your absence for a particular day is after 8:00 p.m. on the preceding day.

Follow-up after Reporting Your Absence from an Evaluation

  • You must make contact immediately with faculty to explain the reasons for your absence and to arrange a meeting.
  • If there is a concerning pattern of absence you will be asked to meet with the Program Coordinator. This may result in the need for you to provide documentation verifying the reason for your absence, in accordance with the requirements specified in sections below titled "Evaluations worth 20% or more" and "Evaluations worth less than 20%"
  • Faculty will then make alternative evaluation arrangements as appropriate and you will complete any necessary forms.
  • Students are required to complete the alternative evaluation as scheduled.
  • If the evaluation is to be conducted in the testing centre, you will be asked to show your ONECard before you are permitted to write the test.
  • Tests will be made up In the College Testing Centre in the following week, or by individual arrangements with program faculty.

Religious Holidays

Students are permitted by Conestoga policy to be absent from class to observe a recognized religious holiday. Any student who is unable to attend classes or participate in an examination, study, or work requirement on some particular day or days because of religious beliefs will be given the opportunity to make up the work that was missed or do alternate work/examinations subject to timely notification.

Conestoga recognizes all religious holidays as defined by the College Employer Council

It is the responsibility of the student to:

a. Plan ahead and be aware of the dates of all examinations and other course obligations;

b. Advise the faculty member that he/she will be seeking accommodation to observe a recognized religious holiday and make a request in writing to your Program Coordinator within the first three weeks of the semester and prior to the date of assessment that falls on the religious holiday. Exceptions based on extenuating circumstances must be approved by the Chair.

Documentation to Substantiate Your Reported Absence

Evaluations worth less than 20%

Missed evaluations worth less than 20% of the student's final grade will be rescheduled once per program semester subject to proper communication described above.

Once per program semester means that only one absence for an evaluation will be accepted across all courses in a program for a semester. Implications of major illnesses or personal circumstances impacting several course evaluations at one time will require discussion with the program coordinator prior to faculty/staff arranging deferred evaluations.

If an evaluation cannot be rescheduled (for example an experiential activity or participation in a group presentation) reallocation of marks will be determined by faculty. This will be documented on an interview record and signed off by both faculty/staff and student.

If more than one evaluation that is worth less than 20% is missed, documentation requirements for evaluations worth 20% or more apply.

Evaluations worth 20% or more

Any student who misses an evaluation worth 20% or more will receive a mark of zero unless the reason for missing the evaluation and the accompanying documentation verifying the reason for the absence are deemed acceptable by the program. Examples of reasons deemed acceptable include incapacitating illness, death of a close family member, and required court appearance.

NB: If an evaluation is missed due to illness, the health care professional attesting to the illness must have firsthand knowledge of the situation and direct involvement with the treatment / management of the condition. For example, a note from a clinic provided by a physician seeing the student for the first time, after the illness has resolved, is unlikely to meet the program standard for documentation.

Acceptable reasons for Absence

  1. Compassionate Leave: Requests for a Leave of Absence to attend to family illness, death or family problems are granted.  These requests will be submitted to the Professor who will consult with the Program Co-ordinator and/or Chair if necessary. A Leave that impacts clinical experiences may affect success in the semester.
  2. Jury Duty:  Any student who receives a summons for Jury Duty should bring the document to the Chair to assess if it can be arranged to have the student excused if such duty interferes with the progress in the program.
  3. Illness: Students experiencing health concerns that prevent attendance should notify their professor of their absence in advance and be prepared to present a certificate from a physician in the event of missing any form of assessment.

Use of Time between Classes

Students are encouraged to use breaks between classes not only for personal needs (food, washroom, phone calls, emails etc.) but also for group work, studying, connecting with faculty, meeting with group members, etc.

Special Circumstances

Students experiencing personal, academic, or medical challenges that may require them to step away from the program for a period of time should speak with the Program Coordinator in order to develop a plan for their future success.

Attendance for Field Placement

Students are expected to be at their respective field placements during the scheduled placement hours unless the agency where you will be attending is closed or if you are in danger to attend. Failure to meet these standards may result in either students being asked to complete their placement hours at a different time or actual failure of the placement itself. Failure to comply with safety standards, the placement organizations policies/procedures, and professional conduct will be dealt with seriously and may result in removal from the placement, failure of the course or discontinuance from the program.

During the course of the second year placement each student is allowed a maximum of 2 sick days per semester. First year placement students are allowed one sick day during the 5 week placement. Any additional time absent from placement is to be made up in total at a time to be determined by the agency in consultation with the student and their field placement faculty/associate.

Written Assignments

In the SSW program, both in courses and field placement, there are continuous requirements for written work in a variety of formats (papers, assignments, forms and plans, handouts, etc.). It is expected that all students will meet the standard of English required within the SSW profession. faculty, field placement faculty/associates and agency mentors will identify students who are having difficulty in this area and will approach students to discuss the need for improvement. Students may be referred to the Learning Commons to help them improve the quality of their written work.

1.      Students are required to submit all written assignments into the locked box located on 3B, outside the reception area, by the due date specified. This expectation will be adhered to strictly.

2.      Students should anticipate problems that will impact meeting deadline dates and should plan accordingly. This includes giving an appropriate time period to trouble shoot problems with technology. Students are encouraged to print all assignments 24 hours ahead of the due date.

3.      If an extension of time is required, students will make this request in writing to the appropriate instructor prior to the scheduled due date.

4.      Late assignments will not be accepted unless you have negotiated a written extension request. Without an approved extension, late assignments will receive a zero on the assignment. Extreme situations e.g. family crisis, accident, etc. will, of course, be considered on an individual basis and should be discussed with individual faculty prior to due date.

NOTE: An extension of time will be given only if arrangements have been made with the teacher prior to the due date. Extensions will not be given if the request is made the day the assignment is due. Approved extensions may incur a penalty of 5% per day.

5.    Assignments that do not meet the above conditions will not be considered for marking.

6.    Assignments must:

  • be legible, double-spaced and typed
  • contain only non-identifying information if referring to clients
  • follow appropriate APA @Conestoga formatting, citing, and referencing

Group work and Assignments

1. Students are expected to participate fully in all assigned group work
2. Before approaching faculty with any group issues, it is expected that members will first meet to attempt some form of resolution. Proceedings should be briefly recorded. 
3. Should the group be unable to resolve their concerns, faculty may be included for support.
4. Students are expected to complete group evaluations that include self and group member ratings. These group ratings will be taken into account in determining the final grade for individuals in the group. Faculty have the final decision in assigning marks. 

Guidelines for Tests/Exams

Test dates are scheduled well ahead of the date of the test. Unplanned extenuating circumstances involving the college, the program, or the faculty may require changes to the course schedule. If this occurs, students will be notified.

Students are required to write all tests during the scheduled in-class test times. Students who make personal commitments that conflict with meeting test and assignment deadlines do so at their own risk. There will be no special arrangements made for students with personal conflicts (e.g. work, family commitments or vacation plans). Students who wish to reschedule a test or presentation because of a religious holiday are required to discuss the situation with faculty at the beginning of each semester.

Academic accommodations are provided to students with documented disabilities through Accessibility Services. It is the student's responsibility to take the initiative in having these accommodations met.

  1. Students arriving late to write tests may not be allowed into the testing room. Students arriving late and allowed to write the test will NOT be granted an extended time for writing. The test must be completed within the scheduled time frame.
  2. In order to maintain academic integrity of the test, some tests may be retained by faculty and may not be reviewed during class time. However, all tests will be graded in a timely manner, and grades will be shared with students. Requests for review of individual test papers may be arranged with individual teacher(s) and should take place within two weeks of writing the test. 
  3. Missed tests will be re-scheduled by the faculty, and may be written in the testing centre. 
  4.  If you miss a test, you will only be allowed to write it if you have notified the faculty through the reporting absences system as defined, and have a valid reason.
  5. It is imperative that you organize yourself (meet all of your physical needs) prior to entering the testing situation.
  6. No cell phones, palm pilots, laptops or other technical devices will be allowed in the test room. Students should refrain from making arrangements to be contacted electronically during a test. Under very unusual circumstances, students may anticipate the need to be contacted during an exam. These students must make arrangements with the professor prior to the exam.
  7. If an unauthorized technical device is discovered during an exam or test, the owner of the device will immediately hand in his/her test/exam and leave the classroom. Under these circumstances, rewriting of the test may be denied. 
  8. No personal belongings other than what is needed for the test will be permitted in the examination room. For example, books, binders, all electronic devices, pencil cases, purses, bags, coats, etc. must be left off of the desk surface.
  9. Students are to refrain from talking during the Test/Examination.

Students are expected to keep current records of all marks and to track their level of achievement in each course.

Academic Progress Through the Program

Academic Standing and Promotion

The Conestoga Student Guide is your first source for information concerning academic regulations, policies and procedures. The Conestoga Student Guide is available on the college website and by visiting the "Student Guide" tab in your Student Portal.

Post-secondary education (especially at the College level) is oriented toward two general goals. One is to give students the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to achieve success in the workplace. The other is to stimulate a work ethic that promotes responsibility, respect and routine. Both of these purposes are directed at helping students to become competent professionals in their respective fields. In this regard, students are required to meet many expectations.

Although each professor will have guidelines for tests, assignments and papers, the following provides some general guidelines. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with individual professors for any variation from these overall guidelines.

In addition to the Academic Regulations found in the Conestoga Student Guide, the following apply to the Social Service Worker Program:


  • Students must attain a minimum "C" or 60% passing grade in all SSW courses.
  • General Education courses are under the Academic Support Division. Please refer to course outlines associated with General Education courses grading system.
  • Students who have successfully met all course requirements (each term) will be promoted to the following level or graduation. 

Course Add/Drop

You can add, change and drop courses from your portal depending on the dates and which program you are in:

1. Log in to the Student Portal

2. Click on the "My Courses" tab

3. Scroll over the icons to the right of individual course listings. It is strongly recommended that students consult their Program Coordinator prior to dropping a course.

4. Please consult with Program Coordinator before dropping any courses.

Special Timetables/Adding Dropped or Failed Courses

Please note that when students are not taking the program in the prescribed sequence, he/she will be on "special timetables". Prior to the beginning of the semester, students should attempt to add missed courses from a previous semester by logging in to the Student Portal and following the instructions to register for courses. If students are not able to add courses on their own (because of a timetable conflict or full course section) he/she must seek assistance from their Program Coordinator during the "Special Timetable Registration" initiated by the college. Dates, times and locations of Special Timetable Registration periods are posted in the student portal in advance of the beginning of each semester. Students must attend this meeting where he/she will receive further guidance regarding this academic status from their Program Coordinator.

Students who take longer than the designed program length of time to complete their studies are accountable for completing any new or additional courses that may result due to changes in the program of study. Unless otherwise stated, students registered in non-cohort delivered programs must complete the program of study within seven years of being admitted to the program.

Academic Probation

  • Students who have been unsuccessful in their field placement, and/or have failed up to two academic course, and/or have demonstrated questionable or concerning behaviours may be recommended for Academic Probation.
  • Academic probation allows students to be promoted to the next level with a special timetable and with academic conditions. Special timetables and academic conditions are designed as part of written learning contract that the student and program coordinator create together. The goal of these measures is to allow students to continue in the program accompanied by a supportive plan for success.


  • Students who have not successfully participated in the requirements of their academic probation, who have failed to meet the standards set out in the Conestoga Student Guide and/or the SSW Program Standards and Procedures Handbook involving academic dishonesty, student responsibilities, or unacceptable behaviour, attitude or conduct or have failed three or more of their academic courses /field experiences may be discontinued from the Program. 
  • Students who have been discontinued from the Program will not be considered for re-entry to the program for a minimum of one semester and/or until he/she has worked with the program coordinator to develop a written learning contract to support their academic and non-academic success.


Students not planning to return to the SSW Program the following semester are expected to complete a Withdrawal Form available from the program coordinators, the registrar's office, or on the college website.

Program Transfer

Prior to transferring to another program, it is recommended that the student meet with the program coordinator or academic advisor. Students who decide to change programs may do so by completing and submitting a program application form to the Registrar's Office. If considering transferring to a program outside the school in which he/she is currently enrolled in, students may want to discuss options with a career advisor. When a student moves from one Conestoga program to another and where courses numbers/codes are identical or equivalent, automatic credit is given if passing grades are met.


Students have the right to appeal any academic decisions as set out in the Conestoga Student Guide. It is recommended that students begin this appeal process by first meeting with the faculty and/or program coordinator. Students must follow the directions in the Conestoga Student Guide.


Students who voluntarily withdraw should not assume automatic re-admission to the program. Students re-applying may be required to do so through the OCAS process. Re-admission to the program will be dependent upon:

1.   Re-application for admission is in competition with other candidates.

2.   Availability of seats in the class and in field placement settings.

3.   Previous program performance – personal suitability, academic and in field placement.

4.   Completion of recommendations for re-admission, if any.

Clearance of Academic Deficiency

Please refer to Conestoga Student Guide for the procedure and criteria regarding Clearance of Academic Deficiency. Please note that following the end of semester contact with any student eligible to write a supplemental will be made either by phone or email. If a student does not respond to this contact, the student forfeits the opportunity to write a supplemental test. The maximum number of supplemental opportunities during the program is 2 per student.

Movement into Field Placement

First year students are required to successfully complete all SSW core courses before moving into first year placement. For those students who may be eligible for supplementals, please note that field placement will not be finalized until the successful completion of the supplemental process..


Students who have completed the SSW program in the prescribed sequence are automatically registered to graduate. Students who have not completed the program in the prescribed sequence must "apply to graduate" during their final semester. Visit the college web site for an application to graduate

To be eligible for a diploma a student must successfully complete all courses specified in the current program design. This will typically be achieved within two years (four semesters).

Promotion through the Program

Promotion is the advancement from one portion of the program to another (i.e. semester to semester or year to year) after a process of evaluation has been completed to assure that minimum standards have been met or surpassed. Promotion is based on academic achievement as well as meeting professional performance standards. In addition, a passing grade for field placement performance is required.

Promotion reviews occur at the end of each of semester 1, 2, 3 and 4 and decisions are made by the full program team including faculty members, Program Coordinator, and Department Chair.

General Education / Breadth Electives

School of Liberal Studies

The purpose of General Education and Degree Breadth electives is to provide graduates with the skills and knowledge to succeed both professionally and in their own personal lives. Working collaboratively with your program, General Education and Degree Breadth courses help develop the critical and creative thinking skills, civic engagement and knowledge of the broader world of arts, culture and science that helps make you more reflective, creative, and effective in your own life.

All Ontario College Diploma, Ontario College Advanced Diploma, and Degree programs at Conestoga require students to complete general education electives / interdisciplinary breadth.

More information on these courses can be found at

Process for Resolution of Student Concerns

In order to resolve any concerns which may arise during a course, field placement or relating to the program overall, students are encouraged to resolve issues or concerns informally at the program level prior to proceeding to a formal appeal.

If attempts have been made, and a successful resolution has not been reached, students are encouraged to refer to their Conestoga Student Guide, and to follow the procedures outlined under the "Academic Dispute Resolution and Appeal Procedure" section.

Maintaining Student Files

  1. Official records of each student's education are maintained electronically by the Registrar.
  2. Administrative records related to your experience in the Program are maintained to demonstrate compliance with external and college requirements. This information is as follows:
Student Information File Location and Student Access Retention

Pre Practicum Health Requirements (if applicable)

  • per copies of information received from students

In H.S Trax, by individual student access

**accessed through My Conestoga

  • Each student has his/her own information on the Passport for provision to practicum agencies as required.
  • For the duration of a student's time in the Program

Acknowledgement of WSIB Understanding (if applicable)

  • signed electronically by each student prior to the first practicum placements
  • By the Program, online
  • For the duration of a student's time in the Program

Student Consents Signed on Admission electronically (varies per program)

  • Student Consent for Release of Information
  • Student Understanding of Professional Standards
  • Student Understanding of Safety Requirements
  • Filed electronically
  • For the duration of a student's time in the Program.
  1. Academic Files are set up as required for a student to document important matters relevant to a student's progress or to document and monitor resolution of concerns.
Student Information File Location and Student Access Retention

A.  Documents related to academic progress

  • Correspondence regarding course equivalencies
  • Correspondence re supplementary examinations
  • Learning Contracts
  • Disabilities Information & plans
  • In Student File, maintained by the Program Coordinator, initially, and then filed for safe-keeping during the student's time in the Program –maintained by the Program Assistant
For 1 year following graduation or as required by accrediting body

B.  Records of Competency Attainment

As above As above

C.  Documents related to areas of Concern

  • Interview Records, with supporting email documentation as appropriate
  • Student Code of Conduct
  • Incident Reports
  • Letters/emails of significant concern and replies
  • Appeals
As above As above
  1. Students may review the contents of their academic file by:
    • Requesting this in writing to the Program Coordinator
    • Reviewing the file in the presence of the Coordinator


Field Placement Experiences

Student Consent Forms

Students are required to complete program specific consent forms. To access the forms, students should go on myConestoga and open the Consent Forms tab. Students can then electronically sign-off all applicable consent forms after reading each document.

Practicum Health Requirements

Mandatory practicum health and safety requirements must be completed by students prior to student field/clinical placements. Successful placement completion is required for students to progress to program completion. To qualify for field/clinical placement learning experiences, students must present the following prior to the deadline indicated on your practicum package ( which will be distributed in class in year 1).

  • A Police Check for Vulnerable Sector Screening (VSS). Police Checks must be clear of any unpardoned criminal offences. An unclear criminal record may result in the inability to participate in field placement/clinical which will jeopardize progress in the program. Acceptance for placement is at the discretion of the agency; some agencies may request students to provide a VSS completed within six months of placement start date. Students with criminal records are advised to meet with the program chair for academic counselling to determine program suitability.

Safety in the Workplace Course

All students who participate in unpaid work placements during the course of their program will be required to successfully complete the mandatory Safety in the Workplace course prior to going out on placement. The course will provide students with an introduction to workplace hazards and general safety awareness. Students will receive a Record of Completion to provide evidence of this training to placement sites and will consent to their workplace insurance coverage.


Prior to your first placement, you must sign a Declaration of Understanding of WSIB Coverage related to Unpaid Clinical Placements indicating you understand that WSIB coverage will be provided through the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development while you are on training placements. This Declaration will be placed in your student file. It is your responsibility to ensure that the Declaration of Understanding for WSIB Coverage is signed and returned or you will not be allowed to attend your field experience.

Concerns regarding the Safety of the Work Environment

And/or Concerns regarding the Safety or Quality of Care of the Residents/Clients

Field placement experiences provide the opportunity to demonstrate and enhance your learning in the practice environment. These experiences have been organized by your Program in partnership with the organization where you have been placed.

The following procedures have been developed to make it easier to identify and address any concerns or issues regarding your safety or the safety and care of clients that may come up during the practicum in a way that supports both a solid learning experience and a constructive partnership with the practicum site.

  1. Communication of General Concerns regarding Your Safety or The Safety and Care/Service for Clients

1. Students will be provided with an Orientation to their placement site on the first day of their placement. The Orientation may include details of the placement site's policies and procedures related to communication about the safety of the work environment and /or the safety and care of patients/residents/clients.

2. If a student has any concerns about the safety of the work environment and/or the safe/appropriate care/service for clients:

a. The student must immediately report these concerns to the College individual associated with the practicum (Clinical Instructor, Faculty responsible for your practicum, Field Placement Associate).

b. The Clinical Instructor /Responsible Faculty/Field Placement Associate will discuss this concern with Site Management.

c. For concerns of a serious nature (eg. concerns impacting a total student group; a serious care/service situation), the Clinical Instructor/Responsible Faculty/Field Placement Associate will discuss the situation with the Program Coordinator and, potentially, the Department Chair. The Coordinator or Chair will immediately contact practicum site management to determine next steps.

Should facility policies require that practicum students report safety or care/service concerns immediately to practicum site management, the student should report to the Clinical Instructor/Responsible Faculty/Field Placement Officer immediately afterward.

  1. Reporting of Incidents of Student Injury During a Practicum Experience

1. Should students experience personal injury of any kind, this must be reported immediately to the Placement Employer and Clinical Instructor/Responsible Faculty/Field Placement Associate. The Placement Employer will provide first-aid that may be necessary, including arranging for transportation to emergency medical services if required. The Clinical Instructor/Responsible Faculty/Field Placement Associate will notify the Program Coordinator and Chair and complete an Unpaid Work/Education Placement-Accident Report (UWEP-04) and will send this to the College's Occupational Health & Safety Office. Where necessary, the Occupational Health & Safety Office will complete a WSIB 7 form, a MTCU Letter of Authorization to Represent Placement Employer and a MTCU Work/Education Placement Agreement Form.

  1. Reporting of Student Involvement in Situations of Possible Injury to Clients During A Practicum Experience or Student Damage to Facility Property

1. Should students be involved in care/service situations where the care/service results in a potential concern/injury to patients/residents/clients of the placement site, this concern must be immediately reported to the Practicum Site in order that care can be given. This situation must also be reported immediately to the Clinical Instructor/Responsible Faculty/Field Placement Associate. The faculty member will discuss this immediately with the placement site and ensure that an incident report is completed. The faculty member must also inform the Program Coordinator and the Department Chair for a discussion of program expectations and implications. It is the responsibility of the Chair to ensure that all documentation is obtained regarding the incident and to inform College officials accordingly.

2. Should students be involved in situations where there is alleged damage to resources/physical property at the Practicum site, this concern must be reported immediately to the Practicum Site and to the Clinical Instructor/Responsible Faculty/Placement Officer. The faculty member will inform the Program Coordinator and Department Chair for a discussion of program expectations and implications. It is the responsibility of the Clinical Instructor/Responsible Faculty/Placement Officer to complete an incident report with the Chair accountable to ensure all documentation is obtained and to inform College officials accordingly.

Field Placement Policies

Field Placement courses are designed to be taken sequentially:

SOCS1370:      Field Seminar: Preparing for Professional Practice

SOCS1070:      Field Work 1

SOCS2055:      Field Seminar: Expansion of Professional Practice

SOCS1100:      Field Work II

SOCS2200:      Field Seminar: Consolidation of Professional Practice

SOCS2130:      Field Work III

It is the student's responsibility to be familiar with all aspects of the field placement process, including course outlines, policies, field placement requirements, and particularly the evaluation package.

Students may not begin placement until they have completed all their pre-placement requirements and have obtained clearance from Conestoga College's Practicum Services Dept.

SOCS1070 Field Work 1 Requirements:

  1. Throughout the term attendance to Field Seminar class is necessary to explore various field placement opportunities.
  2. Students will identify three preferred choices based on their knowledge gained in Field Work Seminar class and in consultation with faculty.
  3. Faculty is responsible to assign students to a placement based on the above process.
  4. In the event that none of the students preferred choices are available they will consult with faculty to explore further options.  *It is not the policy of the SSW program for any student to explore or secure a placement outside of the process indicated above. All placements and potential supervisors must be vetted by the program prior to the student beginning with the agency*.
  5. The final decision regarding any placement lies with the program faculty.

SOCS1110 Field Work II Requirements:

  1. All students are required to explore different placement opportunities in their second year. *Some students may request to return to their first year placement based on the opportunity for expanded learning. The supervisor must also be in agreement with the student returning.  Returning to the same placement is limited to agencies that have been identified by the program faculty*.
  2.  All students are required to attend the selection process (in class) and to identify/commit to three agency interviews.
  3. A resume and cover letter must be submitted to each supervisor prior to an interview occurring.  All interviews are required to be completed before the end of the second week of May.
  4. Completion of interviews is indicated by the student ranking sheet being completed and handed in to faculty.
  5. Faculty will complete matches for placement based on student and agency ranking sheets received. If, for any reason, a student is not matched with one of their choices they will be notified to review other options. *Participation in field placement SOCS1100 and SOCS2130 are co-requisites for the majority of level three and level four classes*

Participation in Field Placement:

  1. It is the student's responsibility to be familiar with all aspects of the field placement process, including course outlines, policies, field placement requirements, and particularly the evaluation package.
  2. Students may not begin placement until they have completed all of their pre-placement requirements and have obtained clearance from Conestoga College's Practicum Services Department. 
  3. Students are expected to work their full day as assigned by their field supervisor. It is the student's responsibility to complete the placement attendance log throughout the term and submit with their final evaluation. If a student is going to be absent from placement, on any given day, they are required to call their supervisor directly, prior to the start of the work day.
  4. Each placement day may vary in terms of start/end times. The schedule will be developed in consultation with your supervisor in order to support agency needs.
  5. Students are required to make up any time missed from field placement in full or half-day blocks.  Students incurring two or more absences (full or partial days) must meet with their supervisor to review the situation and develop a plan for completion of missed days. Students may be required to produce written documentation, such as doctor's note, to validate reasons for absences.
  6.  In conjunction with the "Submitting Assignments" information in the Social Service Worker Program Standards Handbook, no field placement documents will be accepted after the last day of the semester unless the student has made prior arrangements with their faculty.
  7. Students who have not completed all required hours or placement requirements by the end of the semester may be eligible for an Incomplete. This would be negotiated with faculty and in consultation with both the supervisor and the Program Coordinator before the end of the semester. If the Incomplete is approved the student may be granted an extension to return to the placement and complete the outstanding hours. Specifics about the terms will be outlined using the college's incomplete form.
  8. In the event that a students' placement is terminated at the request of the agency during the semester, the faculty will review the events leading to the termination. A consultation with the Program Coordinator and the Chair will occur. Based on the evidence gathered a decision will be made that may include one of the following: a) a student may be required to drop the placement course, b) accept a Fail for the course, c) be relocated to a new placement site, or d) advised to leave the Program. The time of the semester in which the termination occurred, and the factors involving the termination will be contributing factors in determining next steps.

Academic References

To use one or more faculty for the purpose of academic references, a student must make a written request of that particular person. If a student requests a reference from a faculty member, it is understood that the request implies that faculty can share both academic and behavioural information as part of the reference.

Reference letters will not be provided to students but will be completed at the request of prospective employers. Faculty will also provide a verbal reference, on request.

Frequently Asked Questions About OCSWSSW

The Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW) is responsible for regulating the practice of social workers and social service workers under provincial legislation called the Social Work and Social Service Work Act, 1998 (the Act). The Act was fully proclaimed in August 2000.
The College was established to regulate the two professions, protect the public interest and promote excellence in social work and social service work practice.

Why do the professions of social work and social service work need to be regulated?

Regulation of a profession defines the practice of the profession and describes the boundaries within which it operates, including the requirements and qualifications to practice the profession. The primary mandate of any regulatory college is to protect the public interest from unqualified, incompetent or unfit practitioners.
Regulation brings credibility to the profession. Practitioners of a regulated profession are subject to a code of ethics and standards of practice.
Self-regulation allows a profession to act with delegated authority from the government in regulating its members because the government acknowledges that the profession has the special knowledge required to set standards and judge the conduct of its members.

Only members of the OCSWSSW may call themselves a social worker/registered social worker or a social service worker/registered social service worker. The College maintains a public register of its members. Any member of the public may request verification that a social worker or social service worker is a member of the OCSWSSW.

Who is required to join the College?

College membership is required for any person in Ontario who wishes to use any of the restricted titles: "social worker", "registered social worker", "social service worker" and "registered social service worker". College membership is required if a person represents or holds out expressly or by implication that he or she is a social worker or a social service worker or a registered social worker or a registered social service worker.

Can I call myself a social worker or social service worker without registering with the College?

You must be a member of the College if you wish to call yourself a social worker or social service worker. Only College members registered in the social work category can use the "social worker" or "registered social worker" title. Only College members registered in the social service work category can use the "social service worker" or "registered social service worker" title.

What are the consequences if I do not register with the College and continue to call myself a social worker or social service worker?

It is a provincial offence to use the title social worker or social service worker without being registered with the College. Upon conviction, a person who uses the title without being registered is liable to a fine of up to $5,000 for a first offence, and up to $10,000 for a subsequent offence. In addition, there is provision in the Act for the College to obtain a compliance order from the court.

I am currently enrolled in a social work or social service work program. Can I join the College as a student member?

The College does not have a student member category. In accordance with Ontario Regulation 383/00 and the registration policies, an applicant must produce documentation satisfactory to the Registrar that shows that the applicant has obtained a degree in social work or a diploma in social service work. However, in the months prior to graduation, you may wish to begin the application process. Application packages are available from your educational institution. Alternatively, you may complete a "Request for Application Form" available on the OCSWSSW website or by phone at 416-972-9882 or toll free, 1-877-828-9380.

Some individuals may need to become registered after completing their degree or diploma requirements but prior to convocation. If you find yourself in this situation, contact the Registration Department of the College.

Will I have to take an exam to join the College?

There is at present no examination. However, the College Council has decided that there will be an entry to practice examination. College staff are in the process of developing a work plan to develop and implement an examination.

How does the College benefit the professions?

The establishment of the College gives social workers and social service workers recognition comparable to other regulated professions in Ontario, such as accountants, lawyers, teachers, physicians, nurses, dental hygienists and massage therapists.
The existence of a College to ensure competence strengthens the credibility for the social work and social service work professions. The establishment of the College may also build public confidence in the value of the professions.

The College provides its members with a code of ethics and standards of practice, which guide members in making practice decisions. The code of ethics and standards of practice can assist members if a complaint is made against them.

I maintain high standards of practice. Why should I be interested in the College?

As a professional, you are concerned about the well-being of your clients. Until the College was established, anyone, regardless of academic credentials or experience, could call themselves a social worker or social service worker and practice the professions of social work and social service work. The legislation helps ensure that your clients receive the same standard of professional service from others who hold themselves out as social workers or social service workers as he/she has come to expect from you.

What is my responsibility as a member of the College?

As a member of the College, you are accountable to practice in accordance with the professional and ethical standards established by the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.
The Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice Handbook is provided when an applicant is registered. It may also be downloaded from the College website.

Will there be continuing competence requirements? What will they be?

All regulatory Colleges in Ontario under the Regulated Health Professions Act, and most social work regulatory bodies in Canada and the United States, do have quality assurance/ continuing competence requirements.
The Standards of Practice Committee is developing a continuing competence program which will be approved by the Council of the College before it is launched with members. The College is committed to ensuring that any activity required by the program is accessible to members, and that members are given sufficient information and notice in order to meet the requirements of the program. It is unlikely that there will be an examination to demonstrate competence; however, a member will be required to engage in the program as a condition of maintaining his or her certificate of registration.

Student Awards

Student Awards and Financial Aid

Conestoga has more than 400 awards, bursaries, scholarships and academic grants available to Conestoga students. These funds are made available to our students through the partnerships we have established with local business and industry leaders. To be considered for an award, complete the General Application available through your Student Portal. Notifications and instructions to complete the application are sent to all full-time students' email accounts in the fall semester (Deadline: First Friday in October) and winter semester (Deadline: First Friday in February). Visit the Student Financial Services on Conestoga's website.

Awards Available for SSW Students 

The following awards* are available to the students of SSW Program. Students who have questions about any of these awards should speak with their Program Coordinator. Please watch your college email for information from the Financial Aid office concerning application deadlines, processes and eligibility. You may obtain information about other school wide awards and scholarships from Financial Aid. You can find the General Awards Application by clicking here.

* Note: All awards are current at time of print, subject to change. 

Award Name Estimated Amount Year or Level # of awards Criteria Selection Process Presented At:
Anna Bond Award $250 Year 2 1 female single parent, minimum avg. of 70% in 1st semester, completed at least one semester at CC Apply Financial Aid
Hildreth Family Award $100 Semester 4 1 shows high interest in community by volunteering, supported his/her classmates Nominated Financial Aid
Jane Irving Bursary $500 Year 1 1 female, demonstrate financial need and good academic standing Apply Financial Aid
May Court Club of Kitchener-Waterloo Bursary $500 enrolled 1 demonstrate financial need Apply Financial Aid
Peggy Roth Award $200 Year 2 2 field placement with adults, demonstrates a strong commitment and a sense of vision Nominated Financial Aid
Social Services Student Faculty Award $50 Year 2 1 competent performance in fieldwork and academic performance Nominated Financial Aid
Violet Maria Noseworthy Memorial Award $150 Semester 2 1 preference to single parents, demonstrate financial need, minimum 60% in program courses, 55% in Sociology, Lifetime Development & Basic Writing courses Apply Financial Aid
Patrice Butts Emergency Education Fund Upon Request     Available for students within the social Service worker program that may find themselves in financial difficulty that may impact their ability to continue in the program. Please speak to a member of the faculty to proceed with an application. Faculty  
School Sponsored - Awarded Annually
Award Name Estimated Amount Year or Level # of Awards Criteria Selection Process Presented At:
Canadian Federation of University Women $500 Year 2 4 75% +, female registered in Yr 2, demonstrate financial need, intellectual achievement and promise Apply Financial Aid
Transchem Community Contribution Award 500 Year 2 1 To recognize students who give back to the community and make positive contributions to their program Nominated School Award Celebration

Program Handbook Revision Log

Last Revised By Whom
June 8, 2015 Patrice Butts
July 2nd, 2015 Jillian Grant
July 20th, 2015 Goranka Vukelich
May 20, 2016 Goranka Vukelich
May 25, 2016 Jillian Grant
June 9, 2017 Dom Parisi

Accommodation Disclaimer

Conestoga College is dedicated to promoting an equitable environment where students have the opportunity to participate in all aspects of College life. In accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and the Ontario Human Rights Code, Conestoga College recognizes its responsibility and legal obligation to provide education, information and services in an accessible manner.

The Program Handbook is intended to provide general information with respect to program expectations. There may be individual accommodations and/or medical circumstances that require exceptions. For example, students may need to be accommodated for a missed assignment or evaluation. Students who are registered with Accessibility Services are not required to provide an additional doctor's note for a missed or late evaluation. For more information about Accessibility Services please drop in or visit our website.

We recognize that other extenuating circumstances may apply. Consult with your Professor. All exceptions based on extenuating circumstances must be approved by the Chair.