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Indigenous Social Work

Become a registered social worker and learn how to deliver effective service to vulnerable populations with Indigenous and mainstream social work theories, perspectives, and practices.


Explore Indigenous worldviews and perspectives while earning a Bachelor of Indigenous Social Work degree (HBISW) leading to provincial registration and a license from the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW).

Offered on campus and online, this professional program ensures you’ll gain the knowledge, skills, and experience to work effectively with Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.

Throughout the program, you’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of social work practice through relevant coursework pertaining to social welfare and social work applications, gain in-depth knowledge of Indigenous and mainstream theories and perspectives, and learn about Anishnaabe's traditional teachings, theories, and practices from Indigenous faculty and staff, endorsed by the School of Indigenous Relations.

You’ll also get the opportunity to put theory into practice in real social work settings through two mandatory field practicums in the third and fourth years, allowing you to acquire 700 hours of practical experience.

The concept of holism, the importance of relationship-building, connections to the land, intergenerational trauma, colonization, and decolonization are common themes throughout the program.

Once you graduate, you’ll receive a Bachelor of Indigenous Social Work and be able to apply to become a Registered Social Worker with either the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW) or a College of Social Workers of any other province or territory after graduating. The program also lays a solid foundation for advanced studies, such as our Master of Social Work or the Master of Indigenous Relations programs.

The Indigenous Social Work program is accredited by the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CAWSE).

Logo for the Canadian Association for Social Work Education.

Key Features

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The program is recognized and accredited by the Canadian Association of Social Work Education (CASWE), and leads to a provincial social work registration and license from the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW).
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Unique opportunity to complete studies in class or completely online. Both streams are required to complete two field practicums totalling 700 hours.
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Open to all students regardless of background or heritage.

Career Opportunities

Graduates can rest assured knowing there is a multitude of career options they can explore post-graduation. Some career options include, but are not limited to:

  • Child welfare
  • Mental health
  • Correctional services
  • Community development
  • Administration
  • Direct service delivery
  • Policy development

Many of these careers can be found in the public and private sector. Graduates enhanced their employability through a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.), Legal Studies (LLB), Graduate Studies (MSW/MIR) and Post-Graduate Studies (PhD).

Mathew Dueck sitting at a desk

Mathew Dueck

Looking back at my time here at Laurentian, I am so grateful for choosing this particular university. I love and value the relationships that I have been able to form with students, staff, faculty members and the opportunities I have been given to get involved in my areas of interests here at the university. The Indigenous Social Work program is especially unique in that it is one of two programs in Canada. In addition to providing mainstream theory, the program fosters Indigenous knowledge through fusing culture, tradition, and ceremony into pedagogy. The professors I have had are not only engaging and well invested in my overall academic experience, but also in my personal wellbeing. I would highly recommend this university and program to others, both Indigenous and Indigenous-minded learners, alike. Laurentian is committed to Truth and Reconciliation and this program is a testament to that. 

Mathew Dueck sitting at a desk

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Take an in-depth look at program details, courses, and degree options!

Program Details