Continuing Professional Education (CPE)

Questions and Answers

The Saskatchewan Association of Social Workers (SASW) Continuing Professional Education (CPE) policy establishes the requirements for completion of annual CPE by registered members. Members are encouraged to undertake reflective practice in which learning needs and goals for practice are the basis for engaging in CPE. What do I want and need to learn? What are my strengths and weaknesses?

Below are a number of questions and answers to provide further guidance and clarification to members on appropriate CPE activities.

Q0. Why does SASW require members to submit 40 hours of Continuing Professional Education each year?

Q1. How does the Category A "Seminar" activity differ from the Category C activity "Self-Directed Learning"?

Q2. Do Seminars have to be of a certain duration in time similar to other Category A activities?

Q3. When should I claim for a Category A "Seminar" versus "Workplace Training"?

Q4. My workplace organized a 2 day event for staff to undertake the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST). Is this considered "Workplace Training" or a "Workshop"?

Q5.I was required to take week long training within my workplace to learn a new computer program for managing client files. Do I submit this as a Workshop or Workplace Training?

Q6. Our organization regularly hosts social work practicum students. Although I am not the primary supervisor, the student will spend time with me. Do I claim this time as a Category B activity, "Supervising Social Work Students"?

Q7. I receive requests from Social Work students outside of formal practicums to meet and learn about my practice area. I usually spent about an hour with the student. Can I claim this as CPE?

Q8. Can I claim CPE for Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Training and Transfer, Lifting and Repositioning Training (TLT) Training?

Q9. In what Category is the activity of orienting new staff covered?

Q10. How does staff orientation differ from "mentoring"?

Q11. Does SASW have a template learning contract?

Q12. Social Work colleagues within my workplace often seek me out for advice and consultation. Is this considered CPE (i.e. teaching and mentoring)?

Q13. I often supervise social work practicum students. How many hours can I claim for CPE?

Q14. My primary role as a social worker within my organization is that of educator. I develop and deliver workshops to staff as well as client groups. Can I claim this work as CPE?

Q15. If I am working in the primary role of educator and all of the developmental work I do is on work time can I claim this as CPE?

Q16. Does the current definitions for CPE advantage some workers over others as a result of the practice setting? For example, if someone is employed with the University and regularly engages in teaching and research they can easily meet the CPE requirements.

Q17. I work in private practice. Part of my practice is the development and delivery of workshops to specific population groups. What can I claim as CPE?

Q18. My position within the workplace involves the supervision of social work staff. Part of this role involves educating and mentoring of the staff I supervise. Is this acceptable CPE?

Q19. My workplace requires that I attend staff meetings and regional meetings. Often these meetings discuss policy and procedures to improve client care at a service delivery level. Is this acceptable CPE?

Q20. I sit on a number of Committees that are connected to my work. What can I claim as CPE?

Q21. SASW encourages members to renew their licence in October. What happens to my CPE undertaken in November and December of that calendar year?

Q22. What happens if the Registrar determines a member has not met the requirements for CPE?

Q23. I am a member of an SASW committee. Can I claim CPE for time spent on SASW committee work?

Q24. Can I claim CPE for supervising students from a discipline other than social work?

Q25. Should I assume my CPE is acceptable if I do not hear from the Registrar?

Q26. How is "self-directed" learning evaluated?

Q27. Is online training acceptable for CPE?

Q28. What happens if a member claims the same CPE activity year after year?

Q29. Who do I call if I am not sure about the acceptability of an activity or what category a certain activity fits under?



  Q0. Why does SASW require members to submit 40 hours of Continuing Professional Education each year?

The Saskatchewan Association of Social Workers (SASW) is the authorized organization that governs and regulates the profession of social work. SASW through its mandate, has an obligation to ensure professional competence of its members to meet its primary obligation of "protection of the public". Continuing Professional Education (CPE) has been generally accepted and proven as an acceptable mechanism to assure professional competence.

"Social workers, like many other professionals, have completed programs that provide an educational and practicum basis for entry to practice. As graduation concludes an education, the start of professional practice signals the beginning of lifelong learning. Maintaining competence in service provision should not be aspirational but rather a duty intertwined with working in the best interest of clients. Continuing Professional Education (CPE) aids in increasing individual knowledge and strengthens the profession’s reputation. As a professional, I view CPE as an external mechanism that assists in the development of conscious and critical self-reflection on practice." (Selena Batemen BSW/MSW/RSW, Director of Professional Practice, BC College of Social Workers.)

CPE should be viewed as activities undertaken by the member to proactively maintain and more importantly to enhance and further develop skills.

Social workers work in diverse practice settings and areas of practice. The categories of activities established within the SASW’s CPE policy attempt to capture that diversity and provide a level of flexibility for members. That said, the Category definitions are at times

subject to varying interpretation. Part of the interpretations may be the result of the primary roles and functions of social workers within practice. Social workers are often educators, facilitators, mediators, researchers, program developers and mentors to name of few. These same function titles are used to define certain CPE activities. Reflective practice would challenge one to separate what is part of everyday practice and what constitutes CPE that enhances that practice. In other words, how do I separate out what is a task of my job versus what is CPE?

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Q1. How does the Category A "Seminar" activity differ from the Category C activity "Self-Directed Learning"?

A1. "Seminars" involve some level of interaction with others whereas Self Directed Learning is generally done by oneself. A live webinar where there is opportunity for interaction should be submitted as a Category A. If the webinar is recorded and viewed later as a recording it should be submitted as a Category C "Self-Directed Learning". If a recorded webinar is viewed with others such as a "peer group" with opportunity for group reflection and discussion, it can be submitted as a Category A Seminar.

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Q2. Do Seminars have to be of a certain duration in time similar to other Category A activities?

A2. As a general rule, Seminars should be a minimum of 1 hour in duration. Members are often able to attend "Lunch and Learns" within the workplace which are often about 1 hour in duration.

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Q3. When should I claim for a Category A "Seminar" versus "Workplace Training"?

A3. Seminars should be focused on your practice or a practice interest. Workplace Training is more about employer training on specific policies and procedures that are required to do your work within the context of the organization. For example, you may attend a specific session to

learn about the recent legislation on Medical Assistance in Dying. In this scenario the session is led by an expert in the area and would be considered a Seminar. Later you are required within the workplace to attend a session or meeting on how the legislation will be implemented within the organization. This could be considered Workplace Training.

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Q4. My workplace organized a 2 day event for staff to undertake the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST). Is this considered "Workplace Training" or a "Workshop"?

A4. Although it was delivered within the workplace it should be submitted as a Category A activity, "Workshop" as the training is specific to practice skill and knowledge development.

If the training then led to an in-service training session put on by the employer to educate workers on a new policy or procedure for addressing the issue of suicide this would be considered Workplace Training.

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Q5. I was required to take week long training within my workplace to learn a new computer program for managing client files. Do I submit this as a Workshop or Workplace Training?

A5. This would be considered Workplace Training as it is supporting activity within the workplace to your practice.

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Q6. Our organization regularly hosts social work practicum students. Although I am not the primary supervisor, the student will spend time with me. Do I claim this time as a Category B activity, "Supervising Social Work Students"?

A6. The "Supervising Social Work Students" activity is primarily intended for members who act as the primary supervisor. The primary supervisor is intended to have primary responsibility for the oversight of the student’s development and final evaluation. This requires the supervisor to spend a significant amount of time on supervision.

Other social workers within the organization may spend time with the student to provide the student with exposure to other areas of practice. One could view this as a professional responsibility and obligation

In cases where the student would spend significant time with another social worker to learn about a certain practice area this could be claimed as a Category C activity "Educating Others About Social Work".

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Q7. I receive requests from Social Work students outside of formal practicums to meet and learn about my practice area. I usually spent about an hour with the student. Can I claim this as CPE?

A7. This would be considered a Category C activity "Educating Others About Social Work".

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Q8. Can I claim CPE for Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Training and Transfer, Lifting and Repositioning Training (TLT) Training?

A8. This is dependent on the practice setting and requirements of the employer. Generally these types of activities would not be part of social work practice and therefore not appropriate to submit as CPE. However, there are practice settings (daycares, group homes) where this type of training is required and mandatory by the employers. In these circumstances it could be claimed as a Category C activity, "Workplace Training".

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Q9. In what Category is the activity of orienting new staff covered?

A9. Orientation of new staff is not considered a CPE activity. Most orientation of new staff is focused on the organization, policy and procedures versus practice. Orientation of new staff is generally viewed as part of employment requirements.

Most social workers engage in orientation of new staff as a professional courtesy and obligation. The quality of the orientation may vary depending on the knowledge and experience of the social worker providing the orientation. Staff orientation however is not an activity that is easily evaluated by an external source such as a regulatory body.

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Q10. How does staff orientation differ from "mentoring"?

A10. "Mentoring" is considered a more formalized activity with specific goals and objectives identified within a learning contract. Mentoring is more specific to the development of skills and knowledge to enhance social work practice and outside of what would be considered part of normal workplace responsibilities.

As noted above, orientation is generally more focused on the organization and the policy and procedures of the organization.

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Q11. Does SASW have a template learning contract?

A11. SASW does not have a specific template for use. A learning contract should clearly identify the learning goals and objectives in addition to how these will be accomplished and evaluated.

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Q12. Social Work colleagues within my workplace often seek me out for advice and consultation. Is this considered CPE (i.e. teaching and mentoring)?

A12. This activity would not be consistent with the intent of CPE. This type of interaction often occurs within the workplace and is provided as a professional courtesy and may be viewed as a professional obligation. As social workers we often educate and consult with colleagues and other providers as part of team work which is essential to our practice.

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Q13. I often supervise social work practicum students. How many hours can I claim for CPE?

A13. The primary supervisor can claim 1 to 5 hours per week over the course of the practicum.

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Q14. My primary role as a social worker within my organization is that of educator. I develop and deliver workshops to staff as well as client groups. Can I claim this work as CPE?

A14. The CPE definitions within SASW policy are similar to the primary roles and functions that social workers use in practice. That does not mean that the activity meets the intent of CPE. If

your role involves the delivery of a 4 hour session on a specific topic multiple times, each delivery should not be submitted as CPE. This is your regular job. It may be reasonable to claim hours for developmental work or to refresh the workshop from time to time.

Members in these circumstances should guide their CPE activities based on the concept of reflective practice. How does the activity enhance my skills and knowledge?

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Q15. If I am working in the primary role of educator and all of the developmental work I do is on work time can I claim this as CPE?

A15. CPE is intended to ensure the maintenance and enhancement of social work skills. It would be reasonable to claim CPE in this circumstance for the developmental/research portion of the work.

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Q16. Does the current definitions for CPE advantage some workers over others as a result of the practice setting? For example, if someone is employed with the University and regularly engages in teaching and research they can easily meet the CPE requirements.

A16. Reflective practice should be the guiding principle for any CPE submission. If the activity involves the application of attained knowledge and skill then it should not be considered CPE. However, even within the workplace, activities that involve the need to attain new knowledge and skills to deliver the services may meet the intent of CPE.

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Q17. I work in private practice. Part of my practice is the development and delivery of workshops to specific population groups. What can I claim as CPE?

A17. Developmental/research work can be claimed. However, if the same session is delivered multiple time each delivery should not be claimed as CPE.

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Q18. My position within the workplace involves the supervision of social work staff. Part of this role involves educating and mentoring of the staff I supervise. Is this acceptable CPE?

A18. This does not meet the intent of CPE and is considered a function of the position held within the workplace. Staff supervision is not an activity that is easily evaluated by an external source such as a regulatory body.

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Q19. My workplace requires that I attend staff meetings and regional meetings. Often these meetings discuss policy and procedures to improve client care at a service delivery level. Is this acceptable CPE?

A19. Generally, meetings of this nature within the workplace do not meet the intent of CPE. If the meeting includes a portion dedicated to education on a specific topic, that portion of the meeting could be claimed as CPE.

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Q20. I sit on a number of Committees that are connected to my work. What can I claim as CPE?

A20. If the Committee work is part of your employment requirement it should not be claimed as CPE. The intent of this category within the CPE definitions is intended to support the engagement of social workers in community level activities.

The Education Committee will be reviewing "Committee Work and Board Meetings" and determining if changes are required to this activity.

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Q21. SASW encourages members to renew their licence in October. What happens to my CPE undertaken in November and December of that calendar year?

A21. If you know you have a scheduled training event at the time of renewal you should submit the event. If the event does not take place you will need to notify the Registrar of SASW. This circumstance may occur in situations where the member needs the event to meet the 40 hour requirement. The registrar may request verification of the event.

In cases where you have submitted the required 40 hours CPE at time of renewal any CPE submitted after renewal will be credited toward the following year. For example, if you renew in October, and then attend a workshop in December, you can go into the online system and enter the Dec workshop. It will automatically be credited to the next year’s hours.

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Q22. What happens if the Registrar determines a member has not met the requirements for CPE?

A22. If a member is evaluated as not having met the requirements of CPE the annual licence will not be approved or may be held until the member has satisfied the requirements.

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Q23 I am a member of an SASW committee. Can I claim CPE for time spent on SASW committee work?

A23 Yes you can claim 20 hours of CPE per reporting year.

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Q24 Can I claim CPE for supervising students from a discipline other than social work?

A24 There may be certain situations where this may be acceptable. A member must discuss the specific situation with the Registrar and be granted approval before submitting as CPE.

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Q25 Should I assume my CPE is acceptable if I do not hear from the Registrar?

A25 The Registrar audits approximately 10% of members each year. The audits are random so some members may never be audited. Members are responsible to ensure they are meeting the standards for CPE and are in compliance with SASW’s CPE policy.

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Q26 How is "self-directed" learning evaluated?

A26 Members are required to provide sufficient detail on the self-directed activity so that it can be evaluated by the Registrar. For example, if a member reads a book or reviews certain scholarly journal articles, the registrar should be able to locate and evaluate the appropriateness of the source and the amount of time claimed for CPE.

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Q27 Is online training acceptable for CPE?

A27 Yes. As with any CPE activity the member must provide sufficient detail in order for the Registrar to evaluate the appropriateness of the source and the amount of time claimed for CPE.

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Q28 What happens if a member claims the same CPE activity year after year?

A28 This is dependant on the activity being claimed. For example, during the auditing process the Registrar may review the current year’s CPE submission as well as previous submissions. If a member has claimed the same book more than once the member’s licence may be suspended.

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Q29 Who do I call if I am not sure about the acceptability of an activity or what category a certain activity fits under?

A29 You can contact the Registrar through e-mail @ registrar.sasw@accesscomm.ca

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