Curriculum Guideline

Introduction to Social Welfare

Effective Date:
Course Code
CSSW 1200
Introduction to Social Welfare
Community Social Service Work
Applied Community Studies
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
Flexible delivery ranging over 2 to 15 weeks.
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
60 hours: Lecture
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction
  • Lecture
  • Group exercises
  • Student presentations
  • Use of multimedia resources
Course Description
This course provides an introduction to the development of social welfare policy in Canada. Social and human rights reactions to social problems in general will be examined, as well as poverty and economic disadvantage in particular. The role of the social worker in influencing policy development, including working to change the structures that currently exist, will be explored. The methods of forming social policy at the legislative and grassroots level will be considered.
Course Content

The following global ideas guide the design and delivery of this course.

  • Social policy decisions are related to the protection and affirmation of human rights.  Public sentiment influences who is safeguarded by legislation and the consequences for those who remain oppressed. 
  • Individual problems are related to larger socio-economic political issues.  This includes the need for both personal and social change:  the need to explore and reflect on each individual’s life (personality, gifts, needs, and motivation) and the structural context of society (class, gender, race, age, government institutions).
  • Poverty is an issue of equity.  Although all people face some risk of being poor, people who are marginalized face significantly higher risk.
  • Understanding societal attitudes, the political process, relevant legislation, and the social welfare delivery system and policy are prerequisites for providing direct service and for advocating on behalf of recipients of service. 
  • Models of change need to be appropriate for diverse populations depending on factors such as history, culture, and ability to be empowered within the legal, political, and social structures of society.
  • The delivery of social welfare is not an inert enterprise, and at both the practical and theoretical level the social worker adopts an active role to advocate on behalf of clients within formal and informal mechanisms of providing help.
  • Both beginning and experienced practitioners need to be aware of their own values, political agendas and potential biases within their role as professionals.
  • The impacts of globalization and privatization continue to erode the universal delivery of social welfare across Canada and the notion of equal access for all is under threat.
  • Social policy may be formed at different levels in society and the social service practitioner can be an active agent of change within this process. 
Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, within the following content areas, the student will be able to:

  1. Historical aspects of social welfare policy 
    • describe the relationship between economics, politics, and the formation of Canadian social policy throughout history
    • identify the relationship between marginalized/oppressed groups and policy structures which have limited access to services
    • critically analyze social policy based on social work values
    • identify the role of the social worker in the formation and delivery of Canadian social policy
    • describe the reciprocal relationship between the formation of public opinion, media, and larger social forces
  2. Poverty
    • describe “relative” and “absolute” definitions of poverty
    • research and interpret poverty statistics
    • describe the social, psychological and economic impact of poverty
    • describe the process of income assistance delivery in British Columbia, including basic legislation and client eligibility
  3. Impact of culture and oppression on the practice of social work
    • describe what is meant by structural, feminist, and First Nations’ social work
    • describe how racism, sexism, heterosexism, and ageism produce attitudes and policies which sustain inequalities in society
    • demonstrate knowledge of anti-oppressive social work to empower and validate the individual
  4. The process of change
    • identify the links between social policy, public opinion, and the delivery of social
    • welfare rights and legislation
    • describe models of change as they relate to current social trends and the political
    • agenda of left and right wing groups
  5. Service delivery system
    • identify the components of advocacy within social services
    • describe the skills of advocacy for service recipients
    • describe methods of brokering between professional and natural networks of support
    • identify the legislative/legal parameters of service delivery in terms of meeting the needs of clients, including gaps in service delivery
Means of Assessment

This course will conform to Douglas College policy regarding the number and weighting of evaluations. Typical means of evaluation would include a combination of:

  • Examinations
  • Research papers
  • Participation
  • Attendance

 This is a letter graded course.

Textbook Materials

·         T.B.A.