Social Work Action Network Canada


SWAN Canada seeks to unite all social workers, practitioners, and service users in an effort to:

  • provide a forum for discussion about the growing inequalities and their consequences in Canadian society;
  • facilitate collective action in advocating for positive social change;


Members of SWAN Canada are committed to engaging in progressive analysis and critique that:

  • increases public understanding of the issues
  • provides knowledge to inform where and how to engage in effective direct action
  • increases the legitimacy of social work and related social action

Members of SWAN Canada are further committed to moving beyond discussion to action in order to promote social justice through:

  • resisting neoliberal policy directions
  • developing alternatives and actions
  • mobilizing increased participation in social action

We believe it is important to do this work by creating an inclusive network that:

  • Recognizes the value of collective participation among social work faculty, students, practitioners and service users. Each contributes knowledge, skills, energy and enthusiasm based on their past and present experience and position;
  • Includes the national and provincial social work organizations and associations, and our sister organization in Quebec, Regroupement, echanges, concertation des intervenantes et des formatrices en social (RECIFS);
  • Reaches out to engage and mobilize all relevant groups, to build connections and promote similar actions by allies concerned about these issues;
  • Maintains membership open to all whose motivations are consistent with the aims and objectives of SWAN Canada;
  • Fosters participatory and collective collaboration in social action, recognizing the greater likelihood of success through larger numbers, the energizing and reinvigorating benefits of collective processes and the importance of supportive relationships for sustaining challenging work;
  • Provides an effective electronic communication forum to share information and support for all those connected to social work. Information can include discussion of critical issues, actions, good new stories, urgent appeals. Mutual support and solidarity is essential in sustaining our passion for justice and commitment to action.

The way forward

A national steering committee was established, at the founding meeting,  to move forward in building SWAN Canada. Its responsibilities include the following tasks over the year (June 2011-June 2012):

  • to engage service providers and service users in the formation of SWAN Canada;
  • to form subcommittees for particular tasks;
  • to establish a web presence and an electronic means of communication;
  • to pursue links on the websites of the Canadian Association of Social Work (CASW), CASWE, the provincial social work associations and allied organizations.