Over the past year, the College has made significant progress reaching out to stakeholders and raising awareness of its public protection mandate.
Strengthening Stakeholder and Public Awareness is one of the four priorities in the College’s 2016-2019 Strategic Plan. Achieving this strategic priority is of major importance to the College, as it allows us to better fulfill our primary duty of serving and protecting the public through the regulation of the professions of social work and social service work. It is for this reason that I would like to dedicate this message to the College’s recent public awareness and outreach efforts, which include the following initiatives:
Employer Outreach Campaign
Last fall, the College launched its inaugural employer outreach campaign. This multi-faceted campaign coincided with the College’s Employer Roundtables in Thunder Bay and Windsor, which gave employers an opportunity to meet with College representatives and learn more about the College, regulation and the value of hiring registered members. The employer outreach campaign, focusing on the theme “Don’t Miss Out”, featured a digital component including a new Employers section of our website, an interactive quiz and online advertising that informed employers of the benefits of hiring registered College members and increased awareness of the College’s Online Register. The message to employers is simple: a quick check on the College website before they hire will tell them whether or not their candidate is registered. If the candidate’s name is missing from the Register, the employer is missing out. The College also rolled out its new quarterly publication for employers called the Employer Communiqué.
Professional Practice Presentations
The College’s Professional Practice Department has been very active in its outreach activity. In 2017, the College delivered 53 Professional Practice presentations to key stakeholders across the province of Ontario. (This is more than double the number of presentations delivered in 2016.) In addition, the College’s Professional Practice Department staffed a booth at six career fairs and participated on three discussion panels. To enhance awareness among students and educators, the College developed information packages for academic institutions, which included postcards, posters, and other resources and materials.
Enhancing our digital presence continues to play a major role in the College’s efforts to strengthen stakeholder and public awareness. Over the last few months, we have improved usability on the College website and member database to better serve members and the public. We have created a new URL, otsttso.org, for the College’s French website to better engage the francophone community. Two of our newsletters, Perspective and the new Employer Communiqué, are now website-based, which makes it easier for the public to discover these articles – and thus learn more about the College – via Internet search. Last summer, we created a Facebook page, which allows us to reach a wider audience and connect with members in a new way. I am pleased to report that we now have more than 1,200 Facebook followers.
We are happy with the progress that has been made in 2017 and look forward to continuing our work of protecting the public through the regulation of social work and social service work. In the months ahead, we will continue to look for new ways to reach our stakeholders – including members of the public who remain unaware of the College – and better inform and engage members, employers, students and educators.
Lise Betteridge, MSW, RSW