Actions and Commitments

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

York University School of Social Work

May 17, 2024

We are leaders in critical social work, committed to social justice, human rights and equity. We work with groups who have been marginalized and produce research that has real impact on the community. Our dedicated instructors draw from a strong contemporary curriculum and their own practical experience

We offer two streams of entry into the program. BSW Direct Entry allows students who have graduated from high school or community college to apply for the first year of the program. BSW Post-Degree Entry admits students who have completed a three-year honours undergraduate degree.

Mission Statement

The School of Social Work, York University, is committed to social work education which develops practice strategies for human rights and social justice and thus affirms that personal experiences are embedded in social structures.

Through research, curriculum and critical pedagogy the School will:

  • address oppression and subordination as experienced and mediated through class, race, ethnicity, religion, gender and sexual identity, age and ability;
  • develop a critical appreciation of the social construction of reality;
  • promote an understanding of how values and ideologies construct social problems and how they construct responses;
  • prepare students to be critical practitioners and agents of change.

School of Social Work Commitment to Truth and Reconciliation

Although the School does not make any explicit commitment to Truth and Reconciliation, we incorporate the important work into our courses. 

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, three (3): 2 BSW and 1 MSW

AP/SOWK 2070 3.00   Indigenous Understandings in Social Work Theory and Practice

“Introduces social work students to the historical and current acts of oppression as experienced by Indigenous people, families, communities and Nations. Students’ learning will also focus on the positive contributions that Indigenous knowledges and worldviews have on social work theory and practice.

AP/SOWK 4270 3.00   Indigenous Peoples and Canadian Social Welfare Policy: Reflecting on Relationship

An introductory background to the historical and contemporary factors which directly influence the context of social welfare and social work practice in First Nations’ communities in Canada, with a special emphasis on those in Ontario.

GS/SOWK 5550 3.00   Indigenous Worldviews and Implications to Social Work (MSW Program)

This course blends academic learning with the use of storytelling to provide students with a critical understanding of the historical and current implications of colonial structures on the lives of Indigenous People to Turtle Island. It will at the same time provide students with foundational knowledge on how to engage in critical, self-reflexive practice based on holistic understandings of Indigenous social work theory.

York University Courses Website – Course View List

Faculty of Social Work Commitment to Call to Action # 1:  3 out of 3 = 100%

#Outcome: Education and training for social workers 
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
 York University recognizes that many Indigenous Nations have longstanding relationships with the territories upon which York University campuses are located that precede the establishment of York University.
York University acknowledges its presence on the traditional territory of many Indigenous Nations. The area known as Tkaronto has been care taken by the Anishinabek Nation, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, and the Huron-Wendat. It is now home to many First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities. We acknowledge the current treaty holders, the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. This territory is subject of the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement to peaceably share and care for the Great Lakes region.
Located on Indigenous Nations Land Acknowledgement | York 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
 Not explicitly stated on their website
All content has been submitted to the respective faculty for validation to ensure accuracy and currency as of the time of posting. The York University School of Social Work reviewed and approved the document.

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