Actions and Commitments

Call to Action # 1: Child Welfare (1-5)

Thompson Rivers University School of Social Work 

May 23, 2024

The TRU Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program offers a nationally accredited degree that prepares students for a career in the diverse profession of social work. The BSW degree is designed to build on the educational achievements and experiences of a wide range of students.

Both diploma graduates and undergraduate students who have completed the necessary prerequisites may enter the program. Courses are offered on the Kamloops campus on a full-time or part-time basis.

The BSW program is fully accredited by the Canadian Association for Social Work Education.

School of Social Work Commitment to Truth and Reconciliation

Vision 2022 Academic Plan 2017 – 2022

The Faculty of Education and Social Work Academic Plan 2017-2022 – VISION 2022 includes as one of the six priorities:

Accelerating Indigenous Advancement

‘Indigenize our Faculty’s scholarship, programming and environment to address the TRC Calls to Action and improve Indigenous education and social services at all levels.

Actions and Projects:

  • Increase responsive, respectful, and meaningful undergraduate, graduate, and lifelong educational opportunities for Indigenous people.
  • Increase opportunities for all EDSW students to learn about Indigenous rights, history, perspectives and issues.
  • Strengthen Indigenous faculty retention and promotion strategies.
  • Increase effective engagement with Indigenous communities in mutually supportive and productive educational and research relationships.
  • Develop a comprehensive and coordinated communication strategy about Indigenous admissions, financial aid, programs/initiatives, and contacts.
  • Celebrate Indigenous student excellence including upon graduation and as alumni.
  • Create structural and operational features that support Indigenous success and advancement through EDSW
Affiliated TRU/NVIT Bachelor of Social Work

The School of Social Work and Human Service is proud of the longstanding collaboration with the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology to offer a joint TRU/NVIT BSW degree which emphasizes the knowledge and skills relevant to Indigenous individuals, families, and communities. This collaborative partnership has been in place since 1998 and further supports the 2015 calls to action recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada for both TRU and NVIT.

Indigenizing Social Work – YouTube

The program is committed to the principles of social justice, community healing and change. NVIT works to increase students’ knowledge and skills based on Indigenous culture, values, and philosophy.

Elders are a valued part of the program. Through classroom experience and critical analysis, students are encouraged to design an ethical social work framework valuing diversity, equality, respect, and the dignity and worth of all peoples.

The Bachelor of Social Work degree is offered at the Merritt and Vancouver campus. Part-time students are welcome. Approximately 50 students are enrolled in the two-year program.

Students graduate with a Bachelor of Social Work degree conferred jointly by NVIT and TRU

TRC Call to Action # 1

We call upon the federal, provincial, territorial, and Aboriginal governments to commit to reducing the number of Aboriginal children in care by: 

  1. Monitoring and assessing neglect investigations
  2. Providing adequate resources to enable Aboriginal communities and child-welfare organizations to keep Aboriginal families together where it is safe to do so, and to keep children in culturally appropriate environments, regardless of where they reside.
  3. Ensuring that social workers and others who conduct child-welfare investigations are properly educated and trained about the history and impacts of residential schools.
  4. Ensuring that social workers and others who conduct child-welfare investigations are properly educated and trained about the potential for Aboriginal communities and families to provide more appropriate solutions to family healing.
  5. Requiring that all child-welfare decision makers consider the impact of the residential school experience on children and their caregivers.

Mandatory Course: Yes (3)

SOCW 3540 Indigenous People and Human Services (3,0,0)

Students critically examine the historical process of colonization in Canada, the resulting barriers embedded in policy and practice, and alternative ways of viewing the social-psychological position of Indigenous People in Canadian society. Contemporary issues and the movement toward self-determination are discussed in relation to social work theory and practice.

SOCW 3590 Social Work Practice with Diverse Populations (3,0,0)

The development of culturally informed practice skills responsive to diversity is a life-long learning pursuit. This course builds on established interview skills and practice with individuals. Students consider prior learning and develop awareness, skills, and goals for working with diverse social and cultural groups including Indigenous, Black, Asian, and francophone peoples within British Columbia. Students reflect on their own social locations and biases, adopting a stance of ongoing learning and reflexivity to oppression and privilege and work towards social justice. Communication with Indigenous people is a core emphasis in this course. Students develop a culturally sensitive approach in problem-solving situations while working with individuals. Theories of intervention are introduced, practiced, and critiqued by students. Students identify opportunities for ongoing learning.

SOCW 4540 Decolonizing Social Work Practice ne Secwepemcul’ecw (3,0,0)

Students examine social workers’ roles and responsibilities in working with Indigenous people. The concept and process of decolonization is introduced and connected to contemporary stories, community social work program initiatives, and practices of Indigenous people. This course utilizes a gendered Indigenous perspective and explores strategies for reconciliation, building relationships, and practices within the social work profession.

Bachelor of Social Work Courses: Thompson Rivers University (

Faculty of Social Work Commitment to Call to Action 1 # 3, 4 and 5 3 out of 3 = 100%

3History and impact of residential schools (theory)
 Yes. See mandatory course descriptions.
4Potential for Aboriginal communities and families to provide more appropriate solutions to family healing (practice)
 Yes. See mandatory course descriptions.
5All child welfare decision makers consider the impact of the residential school experience on children and their caregivers
 Yes. See mandatory course descriptions.

Compliance with CASWE/ACFTS Statement of Complicity and Commitment to Change

At the May 27th, 2017 Board meeting, the Board of Directors of CASWE-ACFTS committed to ensuring that social work education in Canada contributes to transforming Canada’s colonial reality and approved a “Statement of Complicity and Commitment to Change”. “This is an important step in engaging social work education in the reconciliation process and supporting the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action” affirms CASWE-ACFTS President, Dr. Susan Cadel.
Of the 12 actions articulated in the “Statement of Complicity and Commitment to Change, the following two are directed at Schools of Social Work
7Will encourage institutional members to post a territorial acknowledgement on their School’s website and post a link to the CAUT guide to territorial acknowledgement on the CASWE-ACFTS website to assist Schools with this task
 Thompson Rivers University campuses are on the traditional lands of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc (Kamloops campus) and the T’exelc (Williams Lake campus) within Secwepemcúl’ecw, the traditional and unceded territory of the Secwépemc. Our region also extends into the territories of the St’át’imc, Nlaka’pamux, Nuxalk, Tŝilhqot’in, Dakelh, and Syilx peoples.Located on Thompson Rivers University – Home Page and Indigenous TRU | Thompson Rivers University
8Will encourage and support Canadian schools of social work in revising mission statements, governance processes, curriculum, and pedagogy in ways that both advance the TRC recommendations and the overall indigenization of social work education
 Yes.  See Indigenizing Social Work – YouTube
All content has been submitted to the respective faculty for validation to ensure accuracy and currency as of the time of posting. Thompson Rivers University School of Social Work reviewed and approved the document.

Managing Editor: Douglas Sinclair: Publisher, Indigenous Watchdog
Lead Researcher, Julia Dubé