Preparing Social Service Worker graduates to be agents of and allies for change and social justice in diverse communities for over 10 years.

Social Service Worker 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 community development. This two-year program combines in-class learning with field placement.

Women with a hijab, who is standing in front of the photo, smiling. In the background there are 3 male students and 3 female students discussing a concept on chart paper


Program name
Social Service Worker
Experiential learning
Field Placement
2 years (4 semesters)
Starting month
Ontario College Diploma
Method of study

Year of Study

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Program Availability

Domestic students
Sept. 2020 Open
Jan. 2021 N/A
May 2021 N/A
International students
Sept. 2020 Closed
Jan. 2021 N/A
May 2021 N/A

Full Description

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.

Students will examine the expanding professional roles and responsibilities of Social Service Workers in large urban centres and within a rapidly changing society.

In addition to the theoretical models, methods and skills of social service work practice, you will learn about:

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

Apply to this program if you:

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

Many of the 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


There is a one-year Social Service Worker full-time option available to graduates of a baccalaureate program in disciplines such as psychology, sociology, women’s studies, environmental studies, education and cultural anthropology at a university. Students with degrees from other disciplines may be considered if they successfully completed a minimum of 6 social science courses.

This fast-track option is also open to graduates of a college diploma program including:

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

Find a complete list of degrees and diplomas considered for admission to the SSW C135 fast-track program.

SSW Pathways to BSW and MSW

Part Time Study Options

This program is not available part-time.

Experiential Learning

Field Placement

Your Field Study options

You will have the opportunity to participate in approximately 600 hours of field experience supervised by qualified professional practitioners in community agencies in a full year placement in the second year of the program.

The college maintains relationships with agencies operating in a wide range of institutional and community-based settings throughout the Greater Toronto Area.


The George Brown College School of Social and Community Services has been offering placement opportunities in countries such as Jamaica and India for a number of years. When available, these opportunities are only open to students in the two-year, full-time program (C119).

Note: In compliance with the requirements of our student placement partners, all students in this program must have a police vulnerable sector check completed 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 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 program will assist students in applying for the police check once they begin the program.

Program Standards and Learning Outcomes

The Ministry of Trainining, Colleges and Universities program standards apply to all Social Service Worker Diploma Programs delivered by OCAAT institutions.

The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to:

  1. Develop respectful and collaborative professional and interpersonal relationships that adhere to professional, legal, and ethical standards aligned to social service works.
  2. Record information accurately and communicate effectively in written, digital, verbal and non-verbal ways, in adherence to privacy and freedom of information legislation, in accordance with professional and workplace standards.
  3. Integrate a practice framework within a service delivery continuum, addressing the needs of individuals, families and communities at micro, mezzo, macro and global levels, and work with them in achieving their goals.
  4. Plan and implement accessible and responsive programs and services, recognizing the diverse needs and experiences of individuals, groups, families and communities and meeting these needs.
  5. Examine current social policy, relevant legislation, and political, social, historical, and/or economic systems and their impacts for individuals and communities when delivering services to the user/client.
  6. Develop strategies and approaches that support individual clients, groups, families and communities in building the capacity for self-advocacy, while affirming their dignity and self-worth.
  7. Work from an anti-oppressive, strengths-based practice, recognizing the capacity for resilience and growth of individuals and communities when responding to the diverse needs of marginalized or vulnerable populations to act as allies and advocates.
  8. Develop strategies and approaches to implement and maintain holistic self-care as a member of a human service profession.
  9. Work with individuals, groups, families and their communities to ensure that service provider strategies promote social and economic justice, and challenge patterns of oppression, discrimination and harassment, and sexual violence with clients, coworkers and communities.
  10. Develop the capacity to work with the Indigenous individual, families, groups and communities while respecting their inherent rights to self-determine, and to identify and address systemic barriers that produce ill-effects, developing appropriate responses using approaches such as trauma informed care practice.

Note: The learning outcomes have been numbered as a point of reference; numbering does not imply prioritization, sequencing, nor weighting of significance.

Required Courses


semester courses
CodeCourse Name
GSSC1121 The Sociology of Power, Privilege and Identity
SWRK1026Canadian Social Welfare
SWRK1042Values, Ethics and Professional Practice
SWRK1063Understanding and Working with Groups
COMM1007College English or COMM 1003 English Skills
GNEDGeneral Education Elective


semester courses
CodeCourse Name
COUN1034Effective Communication In Social Service Work
SWRK1064Preparation for Field & Professional Practice
SWRK1065Social Change and Proposal Development
SWRK2058Perspectives On Mental Health
GSSC1109Life Span Development
GNEDGeneral Education Elective


semester courses
CodeCourse Name
SWRK2057Substance Use and Addiction
SWRK2059Community Development
SWRK2056Case Management: An Anti-Oppressive Approach
SWRK2090Fieldwork Practice
SWRK2091Fieldwork Seminar
Program Related Elective


semester courses
CodeCourse Name
SWRK2090Fieldwork Practice
SWRK2091Fieldwork Seminar
SWRK2097Counselling Skills with Individuals and Families
Program Related Elective


semester courses
CodeCourse Name
SWRK2092Working with Older Adults
SWRK2093Disability Discourse
SWRK2094Working with First Peoples: A Social Service Worker Perspective
SWRK2095Deconstructing Internalized Privilege and Oppression
SWRK2096Social Innovation for Social justice

Note: This program is undergoing curriculum review and development. The revised curriculum is proposed for Fall 2019.

Detailed course outlines

General Education Electives

Career Options

Social Service Worker graduates may work directly with people in social services or be involved in community development or social justice and allyship initiatives. They will be well prepared to work in diverse urban communities and with individuals, groups and communities confronted with a range of issues related to:

  • mental health
  • homelessness
  • poverty
  • substance use and addictions
  • criminal justice
  • crisis supports
  • settlement and immigration
  • social justice and advocacy

Your Career

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.

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

  • mental health services
  • substance use and addictions
  • residential programs
  • day programs
  • case management services
  • shelters
  • drop-in and community centres
  • family service organizations
  • government and non-government agencies

Future Study Options

Graduates may apply to complete a second diploma in a related George Brown College program in a reduced time frame [e.g. Community Worker (Fast-Track) program].

For further information on future study options, see

Graduates are eligible to apply for advanced standing in Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) programs at:

Graduates can also complete a four-year degree program in Community Economic and Social Development at Algoma University. With a grade point average of 3.0, graduates of the Social Service Worker program receive two years’ credit toward this four-year degree at Algoma University.



Additional Cost

* Amounts listed are the total of tuition, materials, student service and ancillary fees for the first two semesters of programs starting in Fall 2019. Fees are subject to change for programs starting in Fall 2020 and at later dates.

International students: Visit the International Fees and Related Costs page for more information.

Financial Assistance

This program is approved for OSAP funding, provided the applicant meets OSAP eligibility criteria.

Admission Requirements

Applicants are selected on the basis of their academic achievement, including the required courses, and any other selection criteria outlined below.

  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma or equivalent**
  • Grade 12 English (C or U) - Minimum grade of 65% required

** Mature Student status (19 years of age or older and no OSSD)

Mature Students may take the Admissions Assessment for English, OR may consider upgrading to achieve the credit(s) needed in English.

Please note that George Brown is committed to ensuring that applicants will succeed in their program of choice and meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission to the program. Applicants may be required to have grades higher than the minimum requirements stated.

Course Exemptions

College or university credits may qualify you for course exemptions. Please visit for more information.

International Students

Visit the International Admissions page for more information.

Apply to

Domestic students should apply through Ontario Colleges

Special Requirements

Note: In compliance with the requirements of our student placement partners, all students in this program must have a police vulnerable sector check completed before 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 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).” Students who are unable to provide a clear police reference check will be unable to complete their field placement and, therefore, be unable to complete the program. Police vulnerable sector checks must be renewed every year. See for more information

Success Stories

Belinda-BatistaBelinda Batista (Graduate 2013, Social Service Worker)

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

Brittany Clayton (Graduate 2016, Social Service Worker), Community Support Worker, St. Michael's Hospital

"Throughout my two years as a George Brown College student, I have been provided with an adaptable, unique and diverse experience.

The learning from my program classes has given me a vibrant edge in the field that undoubtedly shaped my experience as a working professional.

The faculty have been incredibly accommodating, understanding, and have created a space where my opinion matters. I have been hired for a full-time position and have received two other phone calls for interviews.

George Brown's student placement opportunities, dedicated faculty and leading edge teaching have helped me to become a more confident Social Service Worker and I will forever be grateful."

Contact Us

School of Social & Community Services

Phone: 416-415-5000, ext. 2185


Our office hours are Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Social Service Worker Program Co-ordinators:

Maureen Boettcher

Phone: 416-415-5000, ext. 6070


Charlene Dunstan

Phone: 416-415-5000, ext. 2652


For more information about George Brown College, you may also call the Contact Centre at 416-415-2000 (TTY 1-877-515-5559) or long distance 1-800-265-2002.

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    George Brown College is continually striving to improve its programs and their delivery. The information contained in this calendar is subject to change without notice. It should not be viewed as a representation, offer or warranty. Students are responsible for verifying George Brown College admission, graduation, and fee requirements as well as any requirements of outside institutions, industry associations, or other bodies that may award additional designations concurrently with, or after completion of, a George Brown College program.