Inclusion, Safety and Community: Social Work’s Possibilities for Canada
There is currently much discussion and dissatisfaction in Canada regarding the role of law enforcement, with social work often proposed as an alternative to what many members of the public perceive to be racist, colonial, and/or violent practices/institutions. At the same time, the profession of social work is not without its own — important — problematic histories. Many stakeholders, both internal and external, are looking to CASW for response to this narrative, and for concrete guidance in creating better alternatives for Canada.
Knowing that there is no easy, ‘280 character’ solution to the extremely complex problem of the way social services and programs have been and continue to be participants in racism, colonialism and classism, CASW wishes to responsibly contribute to the dialogue by releasing a multifaceted document: a factual and historical overview of the development of major social institutions in Canada including social services and law enforcement, which, crucially, highlights the defunding of social services and programs and resulting societal issues; second, an aspirational and multifaceted policy document that outlines how comprehensive funding and supports are the best way forward in achieving a safer, more equitable, happier, healthier Canada; and finally, social work’s role in this future.
Founded in 1926, the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) has evolved into a national voice with a dual mandate to support the profession of social work and advance issues of social justice. On a national level, CASW has adopted a pro-active approach to issues pertinent to social policy/social work. CASW maintains the national Code of Ethics and companion Guidelines for Ethical Practice as well as a national Scope of Practice Statement that serve as the highest standards for the profession.
CASW is committed to collaborating with other social work organizations in Canada to work collectively for reconciliation. CASW recognizes its role in furthering discrimination towards Indigenous peoples and racialized people, and is committed to continuing to shift the narrative to respect the inherent dignity and worth of all persons as we reflect on past actions and commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation.
The purpose of this RFP is to respond to current public anger/desire for sweeping systemic change by providing important historical context on how and why systems have evolved — because a comprehensive understanding of the past is the only way to create a different future outcome — (look back), to demonstrate how many of CASW’s existing policy recommendations fit with a future that better meets the needs of all those who live in Canada (e.g., decriminalization of personal use of substances, mental health parity, basic income, etc) (think now, think concrete) and finally propose and describe the profession of social work’s role in this aspirational future (think big).
This document should NOT:
- Be a paper about defunding or abolishing the police in the practical, immediate now
- Propose social work as a current or future alternative to ‘policing/’ propose social work take on more ‘social surveillance’/policing roles
- Maintain the status quo for social work’s existing roles in child/adult welfare and other roles adjacent to ‘social enforcement’ and ‘social control’
- Appear to propose a silver bullet, simple solution
This document SHOULD:
- Be factual, hopeful, aspirational
- Be grounded in the Principles of Truth and Reconciliation.
- Be grounded in research on the social determinants of health
- Actively dismantle racist/colonial tropes to demonstrate how upfront investments would gradually eliminate the need for much law enforcement (for instance, ‘white middle-class suburb’ case study — what supports and resources do these communities have that allow them to require minimal law enforcement?)
- Highlight existing examples and propose a future where a suite of social services, programs, and public institutions dovetail/work together for the safety, equity, inclusion, and well-being of all
- Crucially, highlight the slow erosion of social funding as deeply problematic/instrumental in the development of current ‘reactionary social control/policing’ vs ‘preventative funding’
- Demonstrate how and why law enforcement has expanded to take on many roles that logically (and sometimes historically) existed under the umbrella of social services
- Propose a future in which all social institutions’ roles switch from ‘policing/control’ to ‘preventive, supportive, protective,’ meaning that both social work and policing would not need to exist as we currently understand them
- Demonstrate that the profession of social work is essential in achieving this future and maintaining it once created
- Have three broad elements: the historical, the current/practical (including how CASW’s existing recommendations would contribute to the future that many are currently calling in asking to defund the police), and the long-term vision/aspiration
Applicants must be grounded in the social work profession, with a critical anti-oppressive perspective that fully integrates principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Furthermore, applicants must be able to demonstrate an understanding of the association’s role. The ability to provide substantive consultations with a wide range of stakeholders is essential.
Approach and Methods
The successful applicant(s) will work closely with CASW to identify the scope of the work and key milestones.
Project Deliverables – Budget and Timeframe
The total budget for the work is not to exceed $10,000. This total budget includes all professional fees, out-of-pocket expenses, and GST/HST.
A preliminary draft of the document should be delivered to CASW for its review and comment no later than Friday, January 15, 2021. The final draft is to be submitted to CASW prior to February 12, 2020.
Proposal Requirements and Bidding Process
Potential candidates are asked to submit a maximum 10-page (using size 11 Times Roman font, double spaced) proposal providing information on the following:
- Proposed work plan and approach including an outline of timelines and associated milestones
- Team members (including appended CVs)
- Information about the organization through which the prospective consultant(s) would work (if applicable)
- Previous research experience outlining clients (appending executive summaries of two reports completed, and providing two references)
- A brief description of relevant experience, research or reports specific to the content area in this proposal
- Invoicing and payment schedule
CASW reserves the right not to accept the lowest or any bid proposal submitted through this process. Full or partial in-kind proposals are welcome.
The contractor may not use any of the information produced by this report for any other purpose unless written permission is given beforehand by CASW.
There will be no payments made to the consultants for the preparation and submission of proposals in response to this request.
The proposal will be assessed in the following areas:
1. Knowledge and expertise
2. Professional experience
All proposals are to be submitted by 12:00 EST – October 28, 2020 to: [email protected] .
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