On April 2nd, I was part of an international panel of regulators who gave a webinar presentation for the Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation (CLEAR). The focus of the discussion was regulators’ responses to the COVID-19 crisis. I discussed the impact of the pandemic on the College’s ability to deliver core services, and on our members, staff and other key stakeholders. I commented that words like “unprecedented,” “surreal” and “difficult” were already overused – yet that we continue to use them because nothing else quite describes the current situation.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had, and continues to have, a profound impact on our society. I recognize that many of you are going through difficult times and may be quite anxious about what the future may bring. You may have already been affected personally and/or financially by the pandemic, with many of you providing essential services to the public in the face of the provincial shutdown, and others feeling the impact of layoffs or sudden changes in the nature of your work. With all the uncertainty in the air, I want to assure you that the College is committed to providing you with professional supports and resources to help you during this time of crisis.
As many of you know, the College closed its physical office in order to protect its staff and stakeholders in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. This was a very difficult, but necessary, decision that led to a temporary disruption of some College operations and services. Since the physical office closure, I am pleased to report that the College has restored most of its core regulatory operations, including professional practice support, to their former capacity on a remote basis, thanks largely to the resolve and dedication of College staff. To better support our members in the fight against COVID-19, we have and will continue to develop guidance, resources and other supports, recognizing that this is a shared experience and we all have a shared responsibility to take steps to “flatten the curve.”
Though we still have work to do – particularly when it comes to adapting our paper-based processes to a digital environment – I am optimistic about the learning and opportunities that the crisis might provide moving forward. The College continues to work hard to deliver core regulatory operations, within the parameters of the Social Work and Social Service Work Act and with our public protection mandate as the frame for every decision we make.
As always, we will continue to communicate openly and to ensure that you are informed of new developments in this ever-changing situation. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, our members, for your continued commitment to providing professional and ethical care and services to the Ontario public. I also want to thank you for your ongoing patience and understanding during this unprecedented time.
The world has changed around us, but together we will see this through.
Please keep well.
Lise Betteridge, MSW, RSW
Registrar and CEO