Alberta College of Social Workers

About Influencing Social Policy and Development

Influencing Social Policy and Development (ISPAD), was implemented by Council in November 2003, and is an initiative that emerged largely as a result of membership’s interest in having the profession maintain its commitment to upholding the principles of social justice, as well as to identify & engage in social action strategies in order to uphold these principles.

One of the primary ways in which social workers come together is through their participation in ACSW interest groups, representative of the major fields of professional practice including: Children’s Issues, Health, and Gerontology.

The Private Practice, and Retired / Semi-Retired interest groups provide different functions for the membership (please refer ‘Interest Groups’ for more information).

The ACSW interest groups provide three major functions including (but not limited to):

  • A place to share information about educational opportunities / events of interest.
  • A place to network around identifying best practices in social workers’ respective fields of practice.
  • A place for social workers to discuss practice issues (and how they relate to the social & economic policy decisions made at the larger organizational and/or governmental levels), and identify courses of action in order to advocate for policies in the best interest and well being of all Albertans.

Nature of Activities

On any one issue, multiple targets can be identified and respective activities implemented. For example, the Gerontology Committee may focus on the issue of cuts to long-term care for seniors.

Mobilize via template letter to MLAs
User Groups
Liaise concerning how we can support their actions
Collaborate with Boards of Directors of services for seniors in co-sponsoring their mobilizing activities
Collateral Organizations
Support lobby efforts of UNA, home-care workers etc.
Meeting and communicating lobby letters to MLAs and Cabinet
Articles and/or letters to editor in urban and rural print media; TV and radio interviews, gerontology committee members, staff or council


The ACSW Research Coordinator participates in the interest group meetings, providing support to the membership through a number of functions including:

  • Sharing information about timely issues taking place across the province as it pertains to the identified needs & concerns of the different groups.
  • Helping the groups identify issues within a social policy context, and identify strategies that can be undertaken to engage in an advocacy / social action initiatives.
  • Providing a vehicle through which an exchange of information can take place between social workers across the province, and the ACSW, which helps determine projects & activities undertaken by the College, and inform the College’s response to a number of public issues.

To learn more about the ACSW’s projects & activities, associated partners, and interest groups, please click on the appropriate links. the appropriate links.