Actions and Commitments

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

University of Manitoba School of Social Work

May 23, 2024

The Faculty of Social Work is working towards a world where there are no great inequalities of wealth or income, where economic and political power is more evenly distributed, where human need is the central value of distribution of society’s resources, where diversity of culture is celebrated, where people have greater control over their own lives and where all persons are afforded maximum opportunity to enrich their physical, spiritual, psychological, and intellectual well-being.

The Faculty of Social Work Bachelor of Social Work has developed a new curriculum that was approved by UM Senate April 2022. This new curriculum will include new core courses and electives for new and existing students. The conceptualization of the new curriculum aligns well with the direction of change in the CASWE core learning objectives, specifically in terms of decolonization, Indigenous Knowledges, and working with marginalized communities.

The new BSW courses are scheduled to roll-out in the Fall of 2023 and will take two academic years to fully implement it. New admission criteria will now be in place to accompany the new program changes.

School of Social Work Commitment to Truth and Reconciliation

Faculty of Social Work Call to Action Statement

While we, as a social work faculty, fully support the work that must be done regarding Calls to Action 71-76, we are also committed to doing other difficult work. Social work, child-welfare specifically, must respond to Calls to Action one through five. The TRC reports have found that the genocidal policies of residential schools have never stopped and that the main front of this colonial violence is social services: “Canada’s child-welfare system has simply continued the assimilation that the residential school system started” (p. 138). Nowhere is this ongoing genocide more easily demonstrated than in the province of Manitoba, where nearly one quarter of all of Canada’s children living in care are located. 90% of these children are Indigenous. This is especially poignant when we realize that  Manitoba’s population makes up less than 4% of Canada’s population.

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)

SWRK 1210 Mitakuye Oyasin (We are All Related)

Centred in creation stories, Indigenous knowledges, epistemologies, sovereignty, natural laws, ceremonies,  relationships to land, place, and all of creation, this  course provides an examination of the spiritual and relational aspects of existence on Turtle Island. The course examines colonial policy, experiences of colonization and historical trauma, treaties, and land agreements, through the lens of resistance. Depending on the instructor, this course may have a field trip.

SWRK 2010 Indigenization and Decolonization in Social Work

This course examines structural and cultural colonization, focusing primarily on the history of institutions of social control, resulting in criminalization  and clientization of Indigenous peoples. In response to government social control, Indigenous efforts towards self-governance, Indigenization, and decolonization are explored as they relate to Indigenous epistemologies, modes of helping, emerging practices such as cultural safety and resurgence of Indigenous and antioppressive approaches to social work practice and the call for reconciliation.

SWRK 3190 Social Work Practice with Indigenous Peoples:Towards Reconciliation

This course emphasizes social work from Indigenous epistemologies and ways of being; it outlines the linkages between First Nations, Metis and Inuit (FNMI)  self-governance, legislation and policy. It overlays concepts such as decolonization, reconciliation and FNMI approaches to helping, and relevant social work practice within the context of diverse Indigenous world views and experiences. May not be held with SWRK 4220 or SWRK 4221. Depending on the instructor, this course may have a field trip.

New BSW Curriculum | Faculty of Social Work | University of Manitoba (

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

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
 The University of Manitoba campuses are located on original lands of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Ojibwe-Cree, Dakota and Dene peoples, and on the National Homeland of the Red River Métis.We respect the Treaties that were made on these territories, we acknowledge the harms and mistakes of the past, and we dedicate ourselves to move forward in partnership with Indigenous communities in a spirit of Reconciliation and collaboration.Located under Cultural Protocols/Indigenous Community/Community on U of M – Home Page 
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 Faculty of Social Work Call to Action Statement
All content has been submitted to the respective faculty for validation to ensure accuracy and currency as of the time of posting. The University of Manitoba School of Social Work reviewed and approved the document.

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