Actions and Commitments

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

University of Toronto School of Social Work

May 29, 2024

The Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto is distinguished by its emphasis on the integration of research and practice in both the classroom and its practicum education. As the oldest school of social work in Canada, FIFSW has been on the cutting edge of education, policy, research and practice for more than 100 years.

Recognized as one of the leading social work research Faculties in North America, FIFSW is highly involved in promoting excellence in social work practice and policy development. Teaching in the Faculty is enriched by the internationally recognized research of faculty members which is designed to help governments, agencies and communities effectively address real world challenges.

FIFSW offers the following MSW programs:

MSW programs at FIFSW are highly recognized locally, nationally, and internationally. Our aim is to graduate students with foundational social work knowledge and skills, who demonstrate competencies in specialized fields of study in order to navigate increasingly complex service systems.

FIFSW graduates demonstrate the capacity to integrate theory and research into their professional practice. They are trained to develop an evidenced-based approach to practice with diverse populations in both community and institutional settings.

School of Social Work Commitment to Truth and Reconciliation

The School of Social Work lists the University of Toronto report and recommendations because they are used as a reporting framework for the University. The commitment is implied.

The University of Toronto’s posts 34 Calls to Action from the Steering Committee for the University of Toronto Response to the Truth and Reconciliation Comission of Canada on the school’s Diversity and Equity page, and on the reading list on Truth and Reconciliation in a section on community resources. 

The School also launched a groundbreaking new field of study within the MSW program in 2016 called Indigenous Trauma and Resiliency, As the first of its kind in North America, this two-year Master’s program is dedicated to preparing advanced social work professionals to work with individuals, families and communities who have been affected by historical and generational trauma.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

“The Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work is committed to building a community where learners experience a barrier-free education from the point of admissions through to graduation as they enter the social work profession,” says Professor Eunjung Lee, Associate Dean, Academic. “It is our pedagogical priority to represent diverse student groups and deeply engage EDI principles and practices into every aspect of the curriculum including orientation and both foundational and advanced courses.”

For years, FIFSW has provided a Diversity & Equity Workshop for incoming Master of Social Work students. This fall it is providing a new, innovative EDI Workshop, completion of which is now a degree requirement for all MSW students. The new funding allows the Faculty to bring in an impressive list of social work practitioners and researchers to facilitate the seminar, including FIFSW alumni, partners and PhD students who have a wealth of personal and professional knowledge and experience to share. 

“This initiative could not be possible without our amazing EDI Workshop facilitators,” says Lee, who notes that the new workshop is one of many initiatives implemented by the Faculty to build on its commitment to EDI.

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: No in Advanced and Two-year program; Yes in Indigenous Trauma and Resilience

SWK1999H Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Workshop (no credit weight) for both Advanced and Two-year program.

The workshop explores key issues and strategies to address diversity and equity in social work practice and education. Issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion are core to social work practice and require capacities in terms of awareness, knowledge and skills applied in a range of practice settings.

Indigenous Trauma and Resilience

The Master of Social Work, Indigenous Trauma and Resiliency (ITR) field of study emphasizes and focuses on the strong connection between personal, cultural, professional, and academic development. Students will develop self-awareness and personal skills to become effective and competent professionals by studying the history of trauma in their own family, community, racial, and cultural group. They will also discern individual resiliency through values, ceremonies and teachings of their cultural heritage.

Through internships with Elders, respected cultural mentors and skilled professionals and credible organizations, students will be able to experience hands on learning in one or more specific areas of trauma intervention and treatment: program development; individual, couples and family counseling; traditional teachings and ceremony; trauma-informed schools, political advocacy and/or community intervention.

All students must complete 7 half-credit courses in the first year and eight half-credit courses in the second year, which includes a 450-hour summer practicum worth 1.0 full credit. 

Year One:

SWK 4102H Social Policy and Social Welfare in the Canadian Context (BA/BSc Students only)
SWK 4101H Understanding Historical and Multigenerational Trauma
SWK 4106H Social Work Ethics and Indigenous Communities
SWK 4108H Sexual Abuse, Sexual Assault and the Family
SWK 4109H Trauma and Human Development
SWK 4110H Trauma and Addiction
SWK 4510H Research for Evidence-Based Social Work Practice
SWK 4902H Indigenous on Grief, Loss and Unattended Sorrow
SWK 4516H MSW ITR Practicum – 450 hours (BA/BSc Students only)

Year Two:

SWK 4517H Indigenous and Participatory Research Methods
SWK 4901H Facilitating Training in Indigenous Communities
SWK 4903H Program Development and Healthy Leadership – the importance of ceremony and ritual
SWK 4904H Working with Couples and Families in Indigenous Context
SWK 4111H Trauma informed Organizational and Community Intervention
SWK 4905H Seeing the need, creating the solution
SWK 4703Y MSW ITR Practicum II (450  hours)

Faculty of Social Work Commitment to Call to Action # 86: 

Advanced and Two-year Program: 0 out of 3 = 0%; 

Indigenous Trauma and Resilience: 3 out of 3 = 100%

3History and impact of residential schools (theory)
 Yes. SWK 4107: Foundations of Social Work: Knowledge, Theory and Values that Inform Practice (Year 1 required course)SWK 4005 Critical Social Work Analysis with Indigenous People (advanced/Year 2 elective)SWK 4668 Welfare of Children (advanced/year 2 elective)SWK 4102 Social Policy and Social Welfare in the Canadian Context (advanced/year 2 required course)SWK 4625 Intersection of Policy and Practice with Children and their Families (advanced/year 2 required course)Yes. Indigenous Trauma and Resiliency Field of Study (see above)
4Potential for Aboriginal communities and families to provide more appropriate solutions to family healing (practice)
 Yes. SWK 4623: Violence in Families: Multilevel Intervention in Interdisciplinary Practice (advanced/year 2 elective)SWK 4668 Welfare of Children (advanced/year 2 elective)SWK 4802 violence in the Family: Legacies and Healing (advanced/year 2 alternate course in ITR Field)Yes. Indigenous Trauma and Resiliency Field of Study (see above)
5All child welfare decision makers consider the impact of the residential school experience on children and their caregivers
 Yes. SWK 4668 Welfare of Children (advanced/year 2 elective)SWK 4625 Intersection of Policy and Practice with Children and their Families (advanced/year 2 required course)Yes. Indigenous Trauma and Resiliency Field of Study (see above)

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
 Located on University of Toronto – Home PageFound on the Land Acknowledgement part of the website.“I (we) wish to acknowledge this land on which the University of Toronto operates. For thousands of years it has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and the Mississaugas of the Credit. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work on this land.”
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, UofT created the first master’s program dedicated to preparing social workers to work with people affected by intergenerational trauma.
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 Toronto School of Social Work reviewed and approved the document.

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