Important Information for International Students at FIFSW
International students must ensure they have a Study Permit, a Co-Op Work Permit, and medical examination before completing practicums in Canada.
Applying for a study permit and co-op work permit
The University of Toronto provides assistance to newly admitted students who are applying for study and work permits, including webinars that walk you through the steps to apply for a study permit.
Please note that although placements are unpaid, a co-op work permit is required before enrolling in your practicum placement. If you are applying for a co-op work permit along with your study permit you are only required to note that work is an essential part of your program and provide proof of the requirement (use the included ‘co-op letter’).
Because the length of time it takes to secure the necessary permits will vary greatly depending on where you apply from, you are highly encouraged to apply for a study permit and co-op work permit as soon as you have the necessary documents to do so. Each country may have different requirements; visit the Government of Canada’s website for detailed information. We encourage you to apply online.
If you are currently studying at an educational institution in Canada, you must ensure that your study permit is valid and apply for a co-op work permit (without restrictions) before starting your MSW at the University of Toronto. Your study permit and co-op work permit will need to remain valid for the duration of the program.
To support your study permit and co-op work permit application or extension, please include the “Letter of Acceptance for Study Permit” and “Co-op Letter.”
Practicums in your home country
In some cases, it may be a significant advantage for you to pursue your Practicum in your home country. We are happy to explore that with you. Whether completing a practicum in your home country or in Canada, the same standards for Field Instruction will apply.
Please note that should you engage in a practicum in your home country, workplace insurance coverage will not be provided by the University of Toronto or by the Ontario Ministry of Colleges, Universities and Training.
Completing a medical examination
The unpaid field placement component of the program will take place at social service, education, or health care organizations. An immigration medical examination will be required in order to complete a social work practicum in Canada. A practitioner that is an approved immigration provider must complete your medical examination.
The medical examination can be completed prior to submitting a study permit application. Doing so can help you avoid processing delays. Detailed information regarding the medical examination, including who can perform the exam, can be found here.
International student representatives
The Factor-Inwentash Faculty’s Graduate Student Association (GSA) includes two elected international student representatives: Year 1 International Student Representative, and Year 2/Advanced Standing International Student Representative. (Nominations for the current year are now in progress.)
The student representatives meet regularly with David Burnes, Associate Dean, Academic; and Megan Davies, International Students Coordinator. The student reps serve as a voice for international students and represent a formal line of communication to the faculty to raise concerns and help brainstorm ideas to enhance the student experience.
Our goal is to provide international students at FIFSW with several avenues to get the information you need. In addition to the Faculty’s regular student community update meetings, our International Student Advisor, Megan Davies, holds monthly office hours and coffee chat gatherings. Dean Dexter Voisin also holds monthly office hours, during which any student may book an appointment to meet with him to share their experiences, ask questions and raise concerns.
The Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE-ACFTS) has a mutual degree recognition agreement with the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) in the United-States, stating that degrees from CASWE-ACFTS and CSWE accredited Bachelor and Master of Social Work programs are considered equivalent. More information is available here.