New Brunswick Association of Social Workers announces Recruitment and Retention Strategy

The New Brunswick Association of Social Workers (NBASW) is pleased to announce the release of a five-year recruitment and retention strategy to address the social worker shortage in the province.

“Pre-pandemic numbers indicate a shortage of 272 social workers by 2030. Since the start of the pandemic, there has been an increased demand for services, and we are already feeling the effects of the social worker shortage across the province. Major steps must be taken to ensure that New-Brunswickers have access to essential services now, and in the years to come” says Association President, Géraldine Poirier Baiani.

The NBASW led a Recruitment and Retention Steering Committee made up of key partners, including provincial government, Regional Health Authorities, unions, community colleges, and schools of social work to identify the key actions required to successfully recruit and retain social workers in New Brunswick. With the aim of ensuring that current social workers are retained and the need to ensure there is an adequate workforce in place in the coming years to meet service demands, the Committee identified seven Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), which are divided into two categories of general KPIs (1-4) and specific KPIs (5-7).

The general KPIs are the overarching strategic goals and actions to aid in the recruitment and retention of social workers, across organizations and areas of practice. The four general KPIs include Recruitment, Retention, Role, and Image. These pillars apply to all areas of social work practice and each major employer is involved in the actions related to each of these strategic pillars throughout the implementation phase.

The social work profession is diverse and there are many areas of practice that exist. Throughout the development of the strategy, it was found that various organizations / major employers are experiencing program-specific needs that must be targeted directly. For this reason, the three specific KPIs of Child Protection, Mental Health & Addiction, and School Social Work were added, representing specific pressure points in the system that require additional interventions and actions to ensure the success of the strategy.

Géraldine Poirier Baiani further adds “the NBASW is extremely pleased to have developed this plan with key stakeholders who all recognize the importance of the social work profession and who are committed to work collaboratively to recruit and retain social workers, ensuring that all New Brunswickers who need essential social work services have access to them now, and in the future.” The imminent release of the strategy aligns with the beginning of Social Work Month, supporting this year’s “Social Work is Essential” theme.

The report outlining the strategy’s initiatives can be found here.