Promotion of the Profession

Celebrating Social Work Week

BCASW wishes you a Happy Social Work Week! – Messages from the BCASW Board Staff and Volunteers
Happy Social Work Week from MCFD Minister Mitzi Dean – A message from Minister Mitzi Dean

BC CASW Distinguished Service Award 2021 is awarded to BC Social Workers in Healthcare

Social Work Week in British Columbia celebrates the accomplishments of social workers. The provincial government has declared March 14-20, 2021 Social Work Week in British Columbia. Social workers throughout BC plan activities that will highlight their essential contribution to the health and well-being of British Columbians. The theme for 2021 is Social Work is Essential.

COVID-19 has spotlighted inequities in our society and social workers have stepped up to respond to the pandemic with essential services. Nowhere has this been more evident than in healthcare where social workers work with limited resources and often in risky environments. The BC Association of Social Workers is proud to present the BC Canadian Association of Social Workers Distinguished Service Award to BC social workers in healthcare who are at the frontlines of the struggle to contain the pandemic. In their many roles, we know that they are working hard to ensure that individuals, families, and communities have the resources they need to manage and that they are providing comfort to critically ill patients and their families.

BCASW is proud to recognize the work of social workers who exemplify the best in Social Work practice.


The Canadian Association of Social Workers honours a member of each partner provincial association with the CASW Distinguished Service Award during National Social Work Month. BCASW is pleased to announce that Mary Leslie, MSW, RCSW is the recipient of the award for 2020.

View the Selection Criteria for the Distinguished Service Award

Honouring Excellence in Social Work Practice

Mary Leslie, MSW, RCSW
Mary received her MSW from the University of British Columbia School of Social Work in 1969 and was a sessional faculty member 2008-2013. She has over 30 years experience in health care including the BC Cancer Agency and Burnaby Palliative Care Program and has been in private practice since 2001. She is a clinical member of the Satir Institute of the Pacific.

Mary participates extensively at Branch and Board levels and presented webinars for CASW and presentations and workshops for BCASW. She has been published in the Canadian Journal of Counselling (2003), the Satir International Journal (2016), and Perspectives. She is a longstanding volunteer with BCASW and valued colleague who is willing to share her expertise and her compassion.

Some of Marys early social work experiences were ground-breaking and inspirational. She was part of the team that set up a downtown Vancouver community health clinic and she worked with the Childrens Foundation. Later at St Pauls, Lions Gate Hospitals, and the Northshore Health Unit she participated in setting up the Closer To Home palliative care program.

Mary volunteered in South Africa in 2006 with camps for vulnerable and orphaned children; setting up a referral system with the local social services. She worked extensively in BC for causes related to social justice, peace, and the environment. She is a strong and persistent spokesperson, whose clarity, fairness, gentle manner, and compassion model the values of her conviction to act for a safe and just world.

Congratulations Mary!


Postponed for 2020
This award is co-sponsored by BCASW and the UBC School of Social Work to recognize BC social workers whose compassion and dedication to serving has inspired others. Recipients share their experiences at the Paul Cheng Memorial Lecture held during the first week of September at the UBC School of Social Work. For more information and to nominate

The recipient of the 2019 Inspiring Social Worker Award: Jaclyn Sauer


This award is granted by the Northern Branch of BCASW. The ceremony takes place during Social Work Week. Read the backgrounder here. For more information, please contact the BCASW Northern Branch Representative.


This award is granted by the Thompson/Nicola Branch of BCASW, to a social worker who holds membership in BCASW. Nominees are evaluated on their social work service to the community and the profession and the award is given for distinguished service. The deadline to receive nominations is February. The ceremony takes place during Social Work Week. For more information, please contact the BCASW Thompson/Nicola Branch Representative.


This award is granted by the Northwest Branch of BCASW. The ceremony takes place during Social Work Week. Read the backgrounder here. For more information, please contact the BCASW Northwest Branch Representative.



BCASW invites submissions to our newsmagazine, Perspectives, that highlight social workers who are exemplars of Social Work practice. We are pleased to feature them. Submissions should be 600 words or less, and can be emailed to BCASW at any time.

Celebrating Social Work

A variety of posters and  promotional items are available to celebrate Social Work and promote the profession. View them in the Publications and Resources section of our website.

Diversity Quilted Wall Art Project

The 2020 theme for the profession of social work in BC is United by Diversity. Strengthened by Inclusion. In honour of our theme for 2020 we are renaming the quilt a diversity quilt. As we work to bring diverse parts of ourselves and society together, we seek to build thoughtful intersections with inclusion being paramount. Each quilt square can be a visual reminder of this goal.
For more information

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