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  • Social Service Worker - Immigrants and Refugees

    Social Service Worker - Immigrants and Refugees

Program Code:SSWI
Duration:4 Semesters (2 Years)
Start Dates:Fall,
Start dates are subject to change
Credential Awarded:Ontario College Diploma

Program Description

The Social Service Worker – Immigrants and Refugees program prepares you to succeed as a social service provider working with immigrants and refugees. As a graduate, you will possess knowledge and skills on the migration trends and policies in both international and national levels. This will prepare you to work with individuals, families, groups, and communities by offering case management, information and referral provisioning, community capacity building, advocacy, fundraising and proposal writing, program planning, development and evaluation.

Program Learning Outcomes:

This Seneca College program meets the system-wide standards as set by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

As a graduate, you will be prepared to reliably demonstrate the ability to:

  • Develop and maintain professional relationships which adhere to professional, legal, and ethical standards aligned to social service work.
  • Identify strengths, resources, and challenges of individuals, families, groups, and communities to assist them in achieving their goals.
  • Recognize diverse needs and experiences of individuals, groups, families, and communities to promote accessible and responsive programs and services.
  • Identify current social policy, relevant legislation, and political, social, and/or economic systems and their impacts on service delivery.
  • Advocate for appropriate access to resources to assist individuals, families, groups, and communities.
  • Develop and maintain positive working relationships with colleagues, supervisors, and community partners.
  • Develop strategies and plans that lead to the promotion of self-care, improved job performance, and enhanced work relationships.
  • Integrate social group work and group facilitation skills across a wide range of environments, supporting growth and development of individuals, families, and communities.
  • Work in communities to advocate for change strategies that promote social and economic justice and challenge patterns of oppression and discrimination.

Essential Employability Skills:

Graduates of this program are also expected to demonstrate the essential employability skills learning outcomes as outlined on the Ministry of Training, College and Universities website.

Admission Requirements

Program Eligibility:

  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent with:
    • Grade 12 English: ENG4(C) or ENG4(U)
  • OR Mature Student Status (age 19 or older) with the above prerequisite course(s), their equivalent(s), or appropriate Academic and Career Entrance (ACE) Certificate program credits (see Academic Upgrading).

Applicant Selection:

  • In the event of oversubscription, applicants will be required to submit a resume and write a brief essay describing why they want to enroll in the program.


  • Vulnerable Sector Police Screening for students in the School of Community Services Program: Students who live in the City of Toronto can expect to wait a minimum of 8-12 weeks to receive a Vulnerable Sector Screening report from Toronto Police Services. Please use the attached form to apply for your VSS at least 8-12 weeks prior to the beginning of your first placement, suggested submission dates are listed below. You must print this form on 8 1/2" x14” paper (legal size); if you don’t it will be returned to you! It is preferred that you take this completed form and $15 in person to 40 College St in Toronto to begin the process. You may also mail it with a CERTIFIED CHEQUE or MONEY ORDER for $15.00 to Toronto Police Services, 40 College St. Toronto ON, M5G 2J3. Please be aware that forms can and have been lost in the mail and that forms filled out incorrectly will be returned, both situations will make the process much longer. Alternately you can pick up a preprinted form at the SSW/IR offices at your campus; King room GH1141, S@Y room T0021 and Yorkgate front desk.
  • Students entering programs in January will begin placement in July (suggested VSS submission date: on or before February 15) Students entering the accelerated program in May will begin placement in September (suggested VSS submission date: on or before April 15) Students entering programs in September will be starting placement in January (suggested VSS submission date: on or before August 15)

  • Students who live in York, Durham and Peel regions may visit their local police station where forms are available there. Please allow 3-4 weeks for these regional checks to be completed. International students please contact your Placement Officer for more information.


  • Although not required for admission, proficiency in a language in additional to English is considered an asset.
  • A current Police vulnerable sector screening is REQUIRED for entry into the field practice component of this program.

The Importance of Learning Skills:

Student success in college requires well developed learning skills (such as being able to work independently, participate in a team, be well-organized, develop good work habits, and show initiative). These skills are as important as prior academic achievement. While it is expected that applicants would have developed these skills through previous education and life experiences, Seneca offers support to assist students with further development of these important skills. Seminars, workshops and tutoring are available at Seneca's Learning Centres.


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Your Career

Earn your Ontario College Diploma in Social Service Worker – Immigrants and Refugees and you’ll be prepared for careers such as a settlement counsellor or a settlement worker in schools, shelters and reception centers. You'll also be prepared to work in mainstream service agencies as social service workers as well as in ethno–specific agencies; mental health and addiction; criminal justice system or health sectors. As a social service worker your roles may include front–line practice, community work, and advocacy for social change.

Graduates of the SSWI program are eligible for registration with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.

Provincial Registration

In order to practice in Ontario as a "Social Service Worker" or a "Registered Social Service Worker", graduates must apply for registration in the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW). Graduates of the SSWI program will meet the education requirement for registration. For more information, please visit


Field Work

Field work provides you with a valuable opportunity to apply your learning to the workplace. In order to be eligible for field work, you will be required to meet the criteria as set out in the “Social Service Worker – Immigrants and Refugees Program: Student Code of Conduct”. You will assume the role of a ‘beginning professional’ in a supervised field placement setting, working within an employer–employee relationship.

You will benefit from supervision, and have specified hours, duties and accountabilities to Seneca College, field placement agency, clients, and the community at large. Field work is a mutually agreed contract for which you will be evaluated by the field placement supervisor. The minimum commitment is the successful completion of specific periods as set out in the Field Placement Student Contract.

These periods are typically:

  • The equivalent of two full days per week in semesters two, three, and four;
  • Full week block placements as scheduled throughout the program duration.

Diploma to Degree... and Beyond

Through transfer agreements and institution partnerships, graduates of this Seneca College program may be eligible for credit at the following post-secondary institution(s):


University/CollegeDegrees Available
Ryerson University• Bachelor of Social Work (Full-Time or Part-Time Advanced Standing)
Tyndale University College• Bachelor of Arts (Human Services, Early Childhood Education, Human Services-Social Service Worker) or Bachelor of Religious Education (Degree Completion or Modular)
York University• Bachelor of Social Work


University/CollegeDegrees Available
Algoma University• Bachelor of Arts in Community Development, Bachelor of Arts in Community Economic and Social Development
• Bachelor of Arts in a related field
Brock University• Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Psychology degree or a 4-year with Major Psychology degree, or a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Women’s Studies degree
Lakehead University• Honours Bachelor of Social Work
Nipissing University• Bachelor of Arts
Wilfrid Laurier University - Brantford Campus• Honours Bachelor of Arts
• Honours Bachelor of Social Work
University of Windsor• BA Honours in Disability Studies


University/CollegeDegrees Available
Griffith University• Bachelor of Human Services
• Bachelor of Social Work

Important Academic Dates

Please take a few moments to view Important Academic Dates for your relevant semester.


Semester 1 Course Name Hrs/Wk
EAC150 College English 3
SSW101 Interpersonal Communications 3
SSW102 Diversity: Awareness and Practice 3
WIR100 Introduction to the Immigrant and Refugee Sector 3
WIR147 Field Seminar: Laws, Principles and Ethics 3
Semester 2 Course Name Hrs/Wk
SSW201 Group Dynamics for Social Service Professionals 3
SSW212 The Helping Interview and Principles of Practice 3
WIR208 Social Policy, Legislation, and Governmental Systems 3
WIR227 Individual and Family in a Multicultural Context 3
WIR247 Integrative Field Work Seminar 2
WIR257 Field Placement 14
XXXXXX General Education Option 3
Semester 3 Course Name Hrs/Wk
SSW311 Case Co-ordination and Advocacy Strategies 3
SSW312 Supportive Counseling 3
WIR347 Integrative Field Work Seminar 2
WIR357 Field Placement 14
WIR377 Selected Issues: Fundraising and Project Management 3
XXXXXX General Education Option 3
Semester 4 Course Name Hrs/Wk
SSW402 Community Practice 3
WIR407 Selected Issues II: Violence, Mental Health, Addictions 3
WIR408 Migration and Trauma 3
WIR447 Integrative Field Work Seminar 2
WIR457 Field Placement 14
XXXXXX General Education Option 3

Contact Us

Admissions Advisors:
Domestic Admissions Advisor: Mary Campbell
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 22815
International Admissions Advisor: Valentyna Gorodovych
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 22432
Registration & Records Advisors:
  Julie Berns
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 33007
Program Contacts:
Program Coordinator: Soheila Pashang
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 33659
Program Chair: Biljana Bruce
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 55002
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