… to suspend its membership with the CASW will impact its ability to meet its mandate of promoting and positioning the profession, advancing the interests of the profession and meeting emerging trends…, Ginette Clarke, former staff member of CASW

excerpt of letter to OASW, Ginette Clarke, former staff member of CASW

…The decision of the provincial association to sever ties with our national counterpart raises many questions and concerns.

This is a significant decision which impacts the profession both within Ontario and across the country. I would assume that such a decision would be made in earnest, without haste and would be based on consultation with the broader membership. Was the OASW membership consulted regarding the provincial association’s decision to suspend its membership with the CASW?

I also question if the OASW membership was adequately informed about the association’s decision. The CASW currently has my e-mail address on its distribution list and I regularly receive the CASW Reporter and other information of interest to social workers directly from the national office. Therefore, I have received information from the CASW in relation to this decision, enabling me to make an informed opinion about the situation. Are other members of the OASW being afforded this opportunity?

As a result of the OASW’s decision to leave the CASW I, and social workers who are members of the OASW, no longer maintain any affiliation with our profession’s national body. The national professional association is a valued organization that provides access to benefits and resources. It advocates at a federal level and ensures the voice of social work is represented at various national coalitions and initiatives. In addition, CASW represents Canadian social workers at the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW). The OASW’s decision means that the perspective of social workers in Ontario will not be represented in the collective, national voice. Similarly, we lose the opportunity to be informed of and take action on national and international issues pertinent to the profession.

Of most concern is that the OASW did not embrace the principles on which this profession is based and the skills that social workers use daily. Integrity, respect, collaboration, unity, and mediation are just some of the most basic social work values and skills. Could the OASW, the identified leaders of our profession, have implemented any of these to ensure a strong, united social work profession provincially and nationally?

As a member, I see great value in the mandate and role of both the OASW and the CASW and see that they are complimentary. I appreciated that my contributions to my provincial professional association were ensuring this mandate was met provincially, nationally and internationally. From my perspective the issues that impact the social work profession and the clients who we serve extend beyond the events, politics, and policies that are implemented within the province on Ontario. If the OASW also adopts this broader view, I question how its decision to suspend its membership with the CASW will impact its ability to meet its mandate of promoting and positioning the profession, advancing the interests of the profession and meeting emerging trends with a strong …

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