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One Hundred Years of Social Work

A History of the Profession in English Canada, 1900–2000

By Therese Jennissen & Colleen Lundy
Subjects Social Science, Social Work, History, Canadian History
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Paperback : 9781554581863, 378 pages, February 2011
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781554583423, 378 pages, February 2011

Table of contents

Table of Contents for
One Hundred Years of Social Work: A History of the Profession in English Canada, 1900–2000 by Therese Jennissen and Colleen Lundy



Abbreviations of Organizations and Terms

Chapter One: Responding to Industrial Capitalism and Setting the Stage for Professional Social Work, 1880–1924

Child Welfare


The Role of Religion

Planting the Seeds of Social Work

The Settelement Movement

Charity Organization Societies (COS)

Social Work in World War I

Postwar Social Unrest and Labour Conflict



Chapter Two: Pursuing Professional Status, 1924–29

The American Influence

The Formative Years in Canadian Social Work Education

Formation of a Canadian Social Work Association

The Impact of Pursuing Professional Status



Chapter Three: Face to Face with Poverty: Social Work in the Depression, 1930–9

Social Workers Respond to Unemployment and Poverty

The Relief Crisis

Social Workers Come under Attack

Housing Conditions

Stretcher Bearers or Political Activists

Left-Leaning Social Workers

Social Casework Challenged

Developments in the CASW



Chapter Four: Social Work in the War Years, 1939–45: Expansion and Consolidation

Contributing to the War Effort

The Continuation of Peacetime Social Work

Shortage of Qualified Social Workers

Growth and Consolidation in the CASW



Chapter Five: Postwar Reconstruction and Civil Defence, 1940–60

Social Work and Postwar Reconstruction

The Royal Commission on Dominion-Provincial Relations (Rowell-Sirois), 1937–40

Unemployment Insurance Act, 1940

Report on Social Security for Canada (Marsh Report), 1943

Advisory Committee on Health Insurance (the Heagerty Committee), 1942–43

The Committee on Housing and Community Planning (the Curtis Committee), 1944

The Family Allowances Act, 1944

The Dominion-Provincial Conference on Reconstruction, 1945

Keeping an Eye on Child Welfare

Social Work and Civil Defence in Times of Peace



Chapter Six: Social Work in the Cold War Era, 1940–60: Radicalism and Repression

The Daycare Movement

The Peace Movement

The Canadian Peace Congress

Social Workers for Peace

The Case of Mary Jennison: A Victim of Anti-Communist Witch Hunts

The RCMP “Red List”



Chapter Seven: A Conservative Era in Social Work: The 1950s

Formalizing a Code of Ethics

Welfare Planning as Social Action

Abolition of the Death Penalty

The Doukhobor Situation

Revisiting the Social Action Mandate, 1956–58



Chapter Eight: The Struggle for Workplace Improvements and Standards: The Role of Unions and Professional Associations

Social Work and Unions: An Uneasy Alliance

Social Workers, Staff Associations, and Unions

Vulnerability of Social Workers: A Case Example

Social Workers in High Demand and Short Supply

Inadequate Training

Salaries and Conditions of Work

Social Workers Prepare to Strike



Chapter Nine: Provincial Autonomy and Reorganization in the CASW, 1950–65

The “Manpower” Crisis in Social Work

Restructuring of Role and Function

Provincial Autonomy

The Move to Provincial Associations: British Columbia

Developments in Quebec

New Directions for the CASW



Chapter Ten: Advancing Social Work Education, 1950–70

US Influence on Social Work Education

Organizing Social Work Education in Canada

The National Committee of Canadian Schools of Social Work (NCCSSW)

Canadian Committee on Social Work Education (CCSWE)

Canadian Council on Education and Personnel for the Social Services (CCEPSS)

Social Worker Shortage and Social Welfare Workers

Meeting the Challenges in Social Work Education

The Unwelcoming University



Chapter Eleven: Legal Regulation of Social Work: The Last Stage in Professionalization

The Process of Professionalization

Legal Regulation: A Troubled Relationship with the State

A Patchwork of Regulatory Legislation

Convincing Government and Social Work

The Impact of Professionalization



Chapter Twelve: Staying the Course: Choosing Professional Status over Progressive Politics

Selective Responses to Government Initiatives

Initiatives by Provincial Associations

The CASW Critiques Its Own Responses to Government

Silence on the Status of Women

Housing and Urban Renewal

The Absence of the CASW in Social Workers’ Political Struggles

Going It Alone: Bridget Moran’s Battle with British Columbia’s Social Credit Government

Accountability and Ethics in Social Work Practice: The Warrendale Affair

Exercising the Left Wing: Social Workers Promoting Social Change



Chapter Thirteen: Social Work in a Declining Welfare State, 1974–2000

Cutbacks to the Welfare State and Changes in the Profession, 1974–89

Malaise in the Profession

Social Work Practitioners Shift to the Left

Persecution of a Left-Leaning Social Work Professor

A Wholesale Attack on the Welfare State, 1989–2000

Responses from the Social Work Community

Social Work Demonstrates Its Relevance



Chapter Fourteen: One Hundred Years of Social Work: Looking Back and Moving Foward into the Twenty-First Century

A Time of Transition

Social Work Entering the Twenty-First Century: An Uncertain Time

External Challenges

Challenges Internal to the Profession

The Ongoing Struggle to Address Our Inherent Contradictions

Losing Ground in the Workplace and in Society

Fragmentation of Social Work Bodies

Social Work Theory and the Question of Theoretical Robustness

Losing Our Historical Roots in the Peace Movement

Moving Foward

Fighting for Control over Our Work

Returning to Our Legacy of Resistance

Reinvigorating Our Theory Base

Promoting Social and Economic Justice, Not Charity


Appendix A: CASW Branches, 1927–58

Appendix B: CASW Presidents, 1926–2001




One Hundred Years of Social Work is the first comprehensive history of social work as a profession in English Canada. Organized chronologically, it provides a critical and compelling look at the internal struggles and debates in the social work profession over the course of a century and investigates the responses of social workers to several important events. A central theme in the book is the long-standing struggle of the professional association (the Canadian Association of Social Workers) and individual social workers to reconcile advancement of professional status with the promotion social action.

The book chronicles the early history of the secularization and professionalization of social work and examines social workers roles during both world wars, the Depression, and in the era of postwar reconstruction. It includes sections on civil defence, the Cold War, unionization, social work education, regulation of the profession, and other key developments up to the end of the twentieth century.

Drawing on extensive archival research as well as personal interviews and secondary literature, the authors provide strong academic evidence of a profession that has endured many important changes and continues to advocate for a just society and a responsive social welfare state.

One Hundred Years of Social Work will be of interest to social workers, social work students and educators, social historians, professional associations and anyone interested in understanding the complex nature of people and institutions.


``This book is essential reading for anyone interested in Canadian social policy. Through meticulous research the authors provide the first comprehensive history of social work professionalization in Canada. In telling this story they shed critical light on the ambiguous role the profession has played during both the formation and unravelling of Canada's welfare state. Centred principally on the activities of the Canadian Association of Social Workers this well-written history skilfully explores the tension between social activism and professional recognition within an occupation located at the crossroads of social justice. ''

- James Struthers, Canadian Studies Department, Trent University

``In One Hundred Years of Social Work, the authors provide a nuanced narrative, informed by a combination of feminist theory, critical theory, and political economy. They have mined all the secondary literature and done extensive archival work as well as many interviews with living key players. This is a book of very sound scholarship. ... Because the book is thoroughly documented, it will serve for many years to come as the standard book in the social work field to trace and analyze the history of social workers in the twentieth century. But the writing is jargon-free and the book should serve equally well as an important work for anyone studying the evolution of social policy in Canada or the evolution of professions in the country. ''

- Alvin Finkel, author of [ Social Policy and Practice in Canada: A History (WLU Press, 2006)]

``One Hundred Years of Social Work is the only text that attempts to deal exclusively with the historical development of the profession. It is clearly written and represents a significant contribution to social work literature in this country. ... It provides an excellent history of the CASW and it sets social work within the context of broader political and economic events that influenced and affected the development of the Canadian welfare state. Jennissen and Lundy have created a useful resource for social workers including university faculty members, students, practitioners, regulators, professional associations, and agency managers. ''

- Glen Schmidt, Labour/Le Travail, 69, Spring 2012