Whenever the seasons change, I feel inspired to make changes in my life – some small and contained, others more far-reaching. Change isn’t always a good thing, in and of itself. But change keeps us going. It’s often important, if not essential. As the leaves change colour, fall to the ground and return to the earth, I find myself reflecting upon the momentous changes that we have all witnessed over this past year.
As the author Roy T. Bennett suggested, “change begins at the end of your comfort zone.” In these times of change, we must open our hearts and our minds, and engage in conversations that may be uncomfortable.
During this year’s Annual Meeting and keynote address, I took a moment to acknowledge the magnitude of events that have propelled us towards change over the past year – events which have impacted so many in our province and around the world. We are living in the midst of a global pandemic. We have witnessed – and continue to witness – the worldwide mobilization against anti-Black racism, as well as a historic reckoning on issues related to anti-Indigenous racism and systemic oppression.
As we move towards 2021, I am optimistic about the opportunities and initiatives that lie ahead.
As outlined in our new Strategic Plan, the College and its Council is committed to continuing its work on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. In the days and years ahead, we will strive to provide more resources to support members in practising ethically and professionally – in the best interests of the individuals, families and communities to whom they provide care and services.
But it’s also incumbent upon us, as a regulator, to expand our consideration of these issues beyond supporting members’ practice: like other organizations, we need to examine and reflect upon our policies and processes. The ongoing mandate of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers is to protect the public interest. Everything we do comes back to this mandate – the fundamental reason that regulation exists. And as the world changes around us, we need to reflect very purposefully upon the opportunities within our mandate of public protection. Now, in this season of change.
I look forward, through our various communication initiatives with members and other stakeholders, to continuing to reflect upon and carefully consider these important issues and the changes that are still to come. Together, we will see this through.
Lise Betteridge, MSW, RSW
Registrar and CEO