Alberta College of Social Workers

Advocacy / Publications

Advocating for progressive social policies is fundamental to our work as social workers. ACSW supports social workers through committee structures, annual conference, publications and special initiatives. In addition, we create and participate in coalitions with government representatives and social policy partners to advance social justice.


Current Issue : Advocate Winter 2015           



  • Bringing loneliness to light
  • In the name of belonging
  • Speaking out for change
  • Back from the dead
  • The status of long term care
  • Day in the life: Diana Robson
  2015 Advocate Fall

Past Issue : Advocate Fall 2015               

Cover Story

Social workers shine in Alberta politics


  • A million reasons to smile
  • Treasures

ACSW publishes a quarterly magazine each year entitled, The Advocate . The Advocate is one of the primary communication means used to inform membership of College activities as well as current issues of relevance to social workers in Alberta. Each issue includes a number of regular features, such as Around Our Province, A Day in the Life of a Social Worker and Ethics in Action, and a list of upcoming activities and conferences. Additional articles relate to practice and social issues.

Social workers interested in writing an article for The Advocate should contact the Membership Activities Coordinator - North and refer to the ‘Share your knowledge' document.

The Advocate Editorial Board

Member of the Editorial Board meet on a quarterly basis. Board members review feedback received from the previous issue, discuss feature article ideas and article submissions.

Editorial Board Members:

Leslie MacKinnon (Chair), Jo-Anne Beggs, Cindy Haugen, Jill Hoselton, Michelle Humeny, Eugene Ip, Corrine Janzen, Samuel Mammen, Tasha Novick, Sherri Tanchuk, Andrea Newberry-Koroluk and Melaine Sawatzky.

Editorial services provided by Bird Communications:


Please forward all submissions to Charity Lui, Membership Activities Coordinator - North at

Please forward advertisements to Ilona Cardinal, Promotions Coordinator at

More Information

The ACSW Social Policy Framework 2010: Visioning a more equitable and just Alberta report is a discussion paper that highlights the impact of economic growth and social cohesion.

"Alberta is at a crossroad. This report has highlighted what it means to have economic growth at the expense of social cohesion. With over 80 per cent of incomes concentrated in only half of households and the lowest ranking in the nation for sense of belonging to their communities, Alberta needs a new policy framework. This report provides the framework for a new development path; one where economic growth serves social goals and where disparity is minimized, ensuring an adequate income, quality of life and dignity for all Albertans."


More Information

The Alberta College of Social Workers (ACSW) is both the designated regulatory body for the practice of social work in Alberta and the professional association representing the interests of social workers within the province. Currently over 7200 people are members of the College (members are usually individuals with a diploma or degree in social work). The mission and goals of the College are:

  • To promote, regulate and govern the profession of social work in the province of Alberta
  • To advocate for skilled and ethical social work practices
  • To advocate for policies, programs and services that promote the profession and protect the best interests of the public

The ACSW provides many services to its membership. They include:

  • Promoting the profession through lobbying and public education
  • Promoting opportunities for collegial networking and communication
  • Providing timely information and professional publications
  • Providing access to group insurance rates
  • Organizing conferences and workshops

Current provincial legislation makes it mandatory for people who have a social work education, who work within the scope of social work practice and who work with the public to be registered with the ACSW. Registration is a formal commitment to practice according to the accepted Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice for professional social workers. Individuals who register with ACSW are required to meet professional standards for initial registration, maintain their registration and show competence as long as they work within the scope of social work practice. With the proclamation of the Health Professions Act, ACSW controls the professional title “social worker” and all it’s derivatives. Therefore, by definition, a social worker is a Registered Social Worker.

The ACSW is linked with many related organizations including: the Canadian Association of Social Workers, the International Federation of Social Workers, the Association of Social Work Boards, the Federation of Regulated Health Professions, the Alberta Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health, Arusha, Canada Without Poverty, the Canadian Council on Social Development, the Edmonton Social Planning Council, Friends of Medicare, the Greater Edmonton Alliance, the Public Interest Alberta and the Parkland Institute.

ACSW contact information:
Manager Professional Practice Support
Phone: 780-421-1167
Toll free: 1-800-661-3089 (Alberta Only)
FAX: 780-421-1168
Toll free fax: 1-866-874-8931 (Alberta Only)

Mailing address:
Alberta College of Social Workers
#550-10707 100 Avenue NW
Edmonton ABT5J 3M1

The Alberta College of Social Workers is a proud member and contributing organization of Public Interest Alberta . Through this role ACSW is a part of the Human Services and Poverty Task Force . This group works together to promote access to high quality public human services that are vital for families and individuals who are struggling in poverty or who need support due to disabilities.

As a member, the ACSW has worked in partnership to bring forward reports and actions that advocate for a fairer more equitable Alberta free of Poverty.  

Actions have included:

  “No Change: After 25 years of Promises it is Time to Eliminate Child Poverty”  

From Words to Action: Alberta Can Afford a Real Poverty Reduction Strategy ” 

We are pleased that this task force has had a direct impact of the provision of Human Services in Alberta.  Several of the group’s advocacy efforts have been adopted as public policy. Most recently, the Alberta Government announced in the October 2015 budget that they will be extending the Alberta Child Benefit and the Alberta Family Enhancement Tax Credit . These were key components of this task force’s advocacy to eliminate poverty.

As the ACSW and partners including Public Interest Alberta build an advocacy strategy aligned to the new political context in Alberta; the Human Services and Poverty Task force is reviewing key Issues to focus on and new strategies to adopt. The ACSW is encouraging members to take a few minutes to fill out the following questionnaire. This will better help us represent the professional social work voice on this task force.

Note (See also the Public Interest Alberta report on Priorities for Change on Human Services and Poverty, which was produced for the 2015 provincial election). 

To start the survey please click here " Human Services Poverty Task Force "

External Resources

The Alberta College of Social Workers has established collaborative relationships with a variety of organizations in an effort to keep abreast of issues and activities that affect the social work profession. This network serves to inform the ACSW of policies, programs, services and initiatives of interest to social workers. The ACSW supports the following organizations through paid memberships, through official representation or through participation in activities/events. Detailed information about each organization is available by accessing the specified website.

Alberta Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (AAMIMH)

The Alberta Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (AAMIMH) is a coalition of consumers, family members, advocates and professionals whose mandate is to unify and strengthen the voice of mental health and mental illness in the community. They strive to ensure that these issues are prominent on social policy and health agendas, for a system that reflects best practices and is responsive to the needs of all Albertans affected by mental illness.

Canada Without Poverty (CWP)

Canada Without Poverty (CWP) is a federally incorporated, non-partisan, not-for-profit and charitable organization dedicated to the elimination of poverty in Canada. In 2008 they adopted a new mission, vision and values statements. Acting from the belief that poverty is a violation of human rights and that poverty elimination is a human rights obligation, their work includes raising awareness about poverty, participating in research to generate new knowledge about poverty, and striving to influence public policy to prevent and alleviate poverty.

Canada Council on Social Development (CCSD)

The Canadian Council on Social Development (CCSD) is a non-governmental, not-for-profit organization, which was founded in 1920. Their mission is to develop and promote progressive social policies inspired by social justice, equality and the empowerment of individuals and communities.

Edmonton Social Planning Council (ESPC)

The Edmonton Social Planning Council (ESPC) is an independent, non-profit, charitable organization that provides leadership to the community and its organizations in addressing social issues and effecting changes to social policy.

Friends of Medicare (FOM)

The Friends of Medicare (FOM) is a coalition of individuals, service organizations, social justice groups, unions, associations, and churches representing various sectors of our communities seeking to raise public awareness on concerns relating to medical care in Alberta.

The Greater Edmonton Alliance (GEA)

The Greater Edmonton Alliance (GEA) is a broad‐based citizens organization which works to connect, train, and organize the communities of Greater Edmonton across religious, labour, ethnic, class and neighbourhood lines to take action for the common good. Our primary goal is to develop local leadership and organized power to work for social justice. We strive to hold both public and private power holders accountable for their public responsibilities, as well as to initiate actions and programs of our own to solve community, economic and ecological problems. We are multi‐issue. The issues we work on come from within our institutions, from the concerns of the people.

Parkland Institute

The Parkland Institute is an Alberta research network situated within the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta. It operates within the established and distinctive tradition of Canadian political economy and is non-partisan

Public Interest Alberta (PIA)

Public Interest Alberta (PIA) is a new provincial advocacy organization for public interest issues. It was founded in June 2004 to serve as a vehicle through which to foster in Albertans an understanding of and commitment to the importance of public services, institutions and spaces.


Specialty Associations or Organizations of Social Work

Social Services and Community Action

Social Work Periodicals

Child Abuse Prevention and Child Welfare Issues

Health, Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Resources for Seniors

Workplace Bullying Resource Kit