Social Service Worker Program (C119)

Program Description

Leadership Claims

George Brown College has been preparing Social Service Worker graduates to be agents of and allies for change and social justice in diverse communities for over 20 years.

Program Overview

George Brown College's Social Service Worker (C119) is an innovative program that provides students with an opportunity to learn theoretical models, approaches to practice, group facilitation, mental health supports, social innovation and anti-oppressive practice. This two-year program combines in-class learning with field placement.

This is an approved education program by the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW).

Full Description

George Brown College's Social Service Worker (SSW) is an innovative two-year program designed to guide you in developing the knowledge, values and skills to work directly with a wide range of people confronting the full breadth of social issues and challenges.

You will learn to identify and understand systemic barriers that can impede access to social and economic justice in today's society, and work with those most affected to break down those barriers.

As a student in this SSW program, you will examine the expanding professional roles and responsibilities of Social Service Workers in large urban centres and other communities within a rapidly changing society.

In addition to learning the theoretical models, methods and skills of social service work practice, you will study and develop skills in:

  • group facilitation
  • allyship and anti-oppressive practice
  • counselling
  • substance use and addiction
  • social change and proposal development
  • social innovation
  • mental health

Apply to this SSW program if you:

  • have strong interpersonal skills and are comfortable working with people and groups
  • are committed to working toward a more just and equitable society
  • are committed to examining the dynamics of power, oppression and social location
  • are seeking to work with a wide range of individuals, groups and communities

Many of George Brown's Social Service Worker faculty have professional experience with:

  • marginalized communities
  • institutional health and social service organizations
  • federal, provincial and municipal governments
  • research and initiatives in social innovation
  • a range of not-for-profit organizations and agencies
  • direct practice with individuals, families, groups and communities

In preparation for the field placement, SSW students will be required to work in multiple small and large groups within classes and community settings.


George Brown offers a full-time, one-year accelerated Social Service Worker (SSW) program to university graduates with a degree in a related field such as psychology, sociology, women’s studies, environmental studies, education and cultural anthropology.

Students with degrees from other disciplines may be considered if they successfully completed a minimum of six relevant social science courses.

This SSW accelerated program option is also open to college diploma graduates, including:

Find a complete list of degrees and diplomas considered for admission to the Social Service Worker (Accelerated) (C135) program.

SSW Pathways to BSW and MSW

George Brown College is a signatory of Colleges and Institutes Canada’s Indigenous Education Protocols, which reaffirms the importance of structures and approaches required to address Indigenous peoples' learning needs and support self-determination and socio-economic development of Indigenous communities.

In response to this and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action, the Social Service Worker program is committed to developing the capacity of its students to work with the Indigenous individuals, families, groups and communities. The faculty acknowledge the support of Indigenous Education and Services at George Brown College and Negahneewin Council at Confederation College, who have helped them with this process. The Indigenous Learning Outcomes guide the integration of Indigenous learning into the curriculum.

Your Field Education Options

Field education provides students in George Brown's Social Service Worker program with a significant learning opportunity. In year two, you will have the chance to participate in a year-long field experience with a community agency for approximately 528 hours. While in placement, you will be supervised by qualified professional practitioners. 

George Brown maintains relationships with agencies operating in a wide range of institutional and community-based settings throughout the Greater Toronto Area and will support you in making connections to secure a placement.

Note: In compliance with the requirements of our field partners, all students in this program are encouraged to complete a Police Vulnerable Sector Check before commencing their field placement. These reference checks, which can take up to four months, are done to protect the clientele of these agencies who are considered “vulnerable persons” under the law. The fees for the reference checks vary by region and must be paid by the student. Students are responsible for ensuring that the check covers appropriateness for “individuals being employed and/or volunteering who will be working with vulnerable person(s).” The SSW program will assist students in applying for the police vulnerable sector check once they begin the program.

Students without a clear Police Vulnerable Sector Check may find that their choice of placement is limited. Students in this situation are encouraged to work with the field education coordinator to identify placement opportunities that do not require the Police Vulnerable Sector Check. Students are also encouraged to inquire and apply for Suppression and Destruction of Record or Record Suspension (formerly known Pardon) at their specific regional police services, in order to prepare for their future career or employment. For more information, please visit the Clinical Pre-placement website.

Career & Postgraduate Study Opportunities

Career Options

George Brown SSW graduates meet the educational requirements for registration as a Social Service Worker in the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW). Additional fees apply.

Our Social Service Worker graduates have found employment in a variety of agency settings, including:

  • mental health 
  • homelessness
  • poverty
  • substance use and addictions
  • long-term care
  • criminal justice
  • crisis supports
  • settlement and immigration

Educational Pathways

Graduates of this SSW program may apply to complete a second George Brown College diploma in a related field in a reduced time frame (Child and Youth Care [Accelerated], Early Childhood Education [Fast-Track]Community Worker [Accelerated], Assaulted Women and Children's Counsellor/Advocate [Accelerated], Career Development Practitioner).

SSW graduates who successfully complete this program may qualify for advanced standing in the Professional Communications B.A. and Justice Studies B.A. at Royal Roads University, the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) programs at Toronto Metropolitan University, York University, Lakehead University and Algoma University. The Community Economic & Social Development B.A. at Algoma University also welcomes graduates of the Social Service Worker program. These are some examples of where graduates can pursue future study options.

For further information, see Transfer Guide. For details, please follow the links above to program websites.

Alumni Impact

We are immensely proud of the contributions of our alumni in Toronto and around the globe.

From Michelin-starred restaurants to major construction, entertainment, community and financial organizations, our graduates are truly making an impact across a range of industries.

Latest Alumni Stories

“The vast education I received helped me to understand social work and open my mind to the many sectors available within the field.”

Belinda Batista
Ontario College Diploma

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