|ACTS / CASW|
Value 1: Respect for the Inherent Dignity and Worth of Persons
o Social workers are committed to respecting the dignity and worth inherent in all people. In doing so, social workers uphold each person's right to self-determination as long as this right does not impose on the safety and rights of others or the safety of the individual. If required by law to act against a client's wishes, the Code states that the social worker must do so with the least amount of coercion possible.
Furthermore, social workers recognize and respect the diversity within the Canadian population and uphold the rights of individuals to practice their beliefs and traditions as long as they do not impose on the rights of others. Social workers uphold the rights laid out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Value 2: Pursuit of Social Justice
o Social workers believe that all people--individually and collectively--are obligated to provide services, resources and opportunities that benefit humanity and protect individuals from harm. Furthermore, they advocate for social fairness and equal access to resources, services and benefits. Social workers are concerned with removing barriers and increasing choices among all people, but particularly among those who are vulnerable, marginalized or disadvantaged. This includes objecting to prejudice and discrimination under any circumstances and addressing and challenging the stereotypes of individuals or groups within society.
Value 3: Service to Humanity
o When acting in a professional capacity, social workers place the needs of others above their own self-interest. They aim to promote the personal development of individuals and groups as outlined in the Code. Furthermore, the power they are given is used responsibly and in ways that meet the needs of clients and promote social justice. As well, the knowledge and skills they possess are used to resolve conflict and address the wide range of consequences resulting from conflict.
Value 4: Integrity in Professional Practice
o Social workers respect and promote the values, purpose and ethical principles of their profession and their field of practice. They act honestly and responsibly and demonstrate reliability, impartiality and diligence, thereby maintaining a high level of professional practice. They are always mindful of their actions so that they do not negatively impact the reputation of the profession and they develop and maintain appropriate professional boundaries.
Value 5: Confidentiality in Professional Practice
o Social workers respect their clients’ right to privacy and the importance of the trust their clients have placed in them. This entails keeping client information confidential unless consent has been given by the client or a legal representative of the client to disclose certain information. That being said, the Code states that the confidentiality agreement can be broken if a client has disclosed incriminating information or if a court order requires the social worker to disclose specific information received from a client. Therefore, social workers always inform their clients about the limitations of the confidentiality agreement before any information is shared.
Value 6: Competence in Professional Practice
o Social workers respect their clients’ right to be offered the highest quality of service possible. Thus, social workers limit their professional practice to areas where they are most competent. If a social worker is unable to meet the needs of her client, she will refer him to another social worker or agency that can. Furthermore, social workers are continuously working on developing personal knowledge and skills relevant to their profession and contributing to the development of the profession as a whole. If this involves research then special care is to be taken to minimize risks, ensure informed consent and confidentiality and accurately report findings in an unbiased manner.
British Columbia has its own Code of Ethics, a blend of CASW and provincial BCASW priorities.
BCASW Code of Ethics
Ethical behaviour is at the core of every profession. The BCASW Code of Ethics was jointly adopted by BCASW and the BC College of Social Workers in January 2003 and consists of eleven principles:
- A social worker shall maintain the best interest of the client as the primary professional obligation.
- A social worker shall respect the intrinsic worth of the persons she or he serves in her or his professional relationships with them.
- A social worker shall carry out her or his professional duties and obligations with integrity and objectivity.
- A social worker shall have and maintain competence in the provision of a social work service to a client.
- A social worker shall not exploit the relationship with a client for personal benefit, gain or gratification.
- A social worker shall protect the confidentiality of all professionally acquired information. She or he shall disclose such information only when required or allowed by law to do so, or when clients have consented to disclosure.
- A social worker who engages in another profession, occupation, affiliation or calling shall not allow these outside interests to affect the social work relationship with the client, professional judgment, independence and/or competence.
- A social worker shall not provide social work services or otherwise behave in a manner that discredits the profession of social work or diminishes the public’s trust in the profession.
- A social worker shall promote service, program and agency practices and policies that are consistent with this Code of Ethics and the Standards of Practice of the BC College of Social Workers.
- A social worker shall promote excellence in her or his profession.
- A social worker shall advocate change in the best interest of the client, and for the overall benefit of society.
BCASW Code of Ethics
CASW Code of Ethics - full document 2005
CASW Code and Guidelines for Ethical Practice