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Many practicum settings may have specific requirements, which will be listed in the practicum description in the Practicum Administration System (PAS). Failure to meet any of the requirements may delay the start of the practicum or result in the cancellation of the practicum.

Requirements such as completion of the Immunization Form, mask-fit testing, and the Vulnerable Sector Screening may have costs associated with them. Students are responsible for the costs of fulfilling these requirements.

Students are also responsible for transportation costs to and from practicum interviews and practicum settings.

Possible Practicum Requirements

Vulnerable Sector Check/Criminal Record Check

Students should assume that their practicum will require a current Vulnerable Sector Check (VSC) prior to commencing. Costs may be associated with the application process. The written results are to be provided to the practicum site as requested. A delay in obtaining results or failure to pass the check may jeopardize entry to the practicum. Sunnybrook Health Sciences requires a Criminal Record Check (Level 1) but a Vulnerable Sector Check (Level 2) may also be used.

For residents of Toronto: A Vulnerable Sector Check can be obtained via the Toronto Police Services Police Reference Check Program. Please see here for information on the Vulnerable Sector Check application process.

For residents outside of Toronto: each jurisdiction will inform students of its application process. If needed, the Practicum Office will provide students with written confirmation of their enrollment in the MSW program.

The John Howard Society has developed a self-guided e-learning module on seeking employment when one has a criminal record.


All students placed in a Public Hospital (view our Public Hospitals List PDF) are expected to have their immunizations up-to-date in order to comply with the Public Hospitals Act (1990). Students completing a practicum at a public hospital are required to have an Immunization Health Record Form completed in its entirety by a healthcare provider (e.g., physician, nurse practitioner, occupational health nurse) and approved by the Practicum Office or its delegate.  Failure to comply may jeopardize the practicum.

Since December 2014, the University of Toronto has required all students completing a practicum in hospitals that are part of the Toronto Academic Health Sciences Network (TAHSN) PDF to follow “Vaccinate-or-Mask” protocols during the annual flu season. This means that all students who are placed in TAHSN hospitals are required to either be vaccinated against influenza or wear a procedure mask during influenza season in areas where patients are present and patient care is delivered.

For practicums being completed within a non-TAHSN healthcare facility, we encourage students to inquire about the organization’s influenza policy during their interview and to follow the practicum site’s established practices.

Additionally, some practicum settings may require students to provide documentary evidence of COVID-19 immunization status that satisfies and is consistent with the requirements of the practicum site.

N95 Mask Fit-testing

Some practicum settings require an N95 mask fit-testing. Students need to confirm this requirement with their Field Instructor and arrange an appointment at a mask fit-testing clinic. Please note you may be charged for these services.  Mask-fit testing cards should be provided to the practicum site.

Student’s can obtain a mask-fit test through St. Michael’s Hospital’s Mask-fit Clinic.  Please email the Mask-fit Clinic to book an appointment.

Evening or Weekend Expectations

Please note that some settings expect employees and students to work flexible hours, including evenings and weekends.

International Students

International students must ensure they have a Study Permit, a Co-Op Work Permit, and medical examination before completing practicums in Canada.

Information about the Study Permit, the Co-Op Work Permit, and Medical examination can be found at U of T’s Centre for International Experience (CIE) website.

If you are applying for a co-op work permit along with your study permit, note that work is an essential part of your program and provide proof of the requirement. A letter from the FIFSW Registrar can be provided as proof of this requirement.

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. Details about applying for an extension of student status in Canada can be found on the Government of Canada’s website. Your study permit and co-op work permit will need to remain valid for the duration of the program.

To support a study permit and co-op work permit application or extension, please include the “Letter of Acceptance for Study Permit” and “Co-op Letter.”

In some cases, it may be a significant advantage for International students to pursue a practicum in their home country. We are happy to explore that. Whether completing a practicum in a home country or in Canada, the same standards for Field Instruction will apply.

Please note that if students complete a practicum in their 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 practicum courses 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.

The medical examination can be completed prior to submitting a study permit application. Doing so can help avoid processing delays. Detailed information regarding the medical examination, including who can perform the exam, can be found on the Government of Canada’s Medical exams for visitors, students and workers web page.