Canadian Encyclopedia of Social Work

Canadian Encyclopedia of Social Work

Canadian Encyclopedia of Social Work

Canadian Encyclopedia of Social Work


All of us, as Canadians, are touched throughout our lives by some aspect of social welfare, either as recipients, donors, or taxpayers. But despite the importance of the social network in our country, there has been no single source of information about this critical component of our society. Even professionals in the field of social work or social services have not had a comprehensive volume addressing the myriad features of this critical societal structure. The Encyclopedia of Canadian Social Work fills this need.

Over five hundred topics important to Canadian social work are covered, written by a highly diverse group of social workers covering all aspects of the field and all areas of the country. Practitioners, policy makers, academics, social advocates, researchers, students, and administrators present a rich overview of the complexity and diversity of social work and social welfare as it exists in Canada.

The principal finding from this project underscores the long-held perception that there is a Canadian model of social work that is unique and stands as a useful model to other countries. The Encyclopedia of Canadian Social Work will be an important source of information, both to Canadians and to interested groups around the world.

The Encyclopedia of Canadian Social Work is available in e-book version by subscription or from university and college libraries through the following vendors: Canadian Electronic Library, Ebrary, MyiLibrary, and Netlibrary.


The idea for this endeavour emerged from a visit to the book display at the annual Learned Societies meeting at Brock University in 1996. Among the many works on display was a Canadian encyclopedia of music and as I glanced over its table of contents, I thought, Why not social work? Although I believe that that was the first time a definite concept of an encyclopedia of Canadian social work came to mind in a concrete way, I know that the project had been germinating for some time without my being fully aware of it. I now think that this preconscious cognitive process had actually begun with the publication of the nineteenth edition of The Social Work Encyclopedia edited by Dr. Dick Edwards and published by the nasw Press in 1995. I continue to be as impressed with this work as I have been over the years when I have frequently turned to it for information. Comprehensive and useful as this excellent work is, it clearly reflects an American view of our profession and, in so doing, omits the rich and distinctly different profile of social work as it has developed and exists in Canada. This omission ought not to be construed as a criticism of the prestigious us encyclopedia but, rather, an observation of an appropriate limitation inherent in the effort to focus a clear spotlight on the profession in one part of the world. in earlier editions of the nasw Press project, two or three entries usually spoke to Canadian issues; as the profession has expanded in scope and complexity— as manifested by the growth of this work from the single volume fifteenth edition to the current three-volume format—even these few have been eliminated. Thus, in the nineteenth edition, Canada appears only once: a brief description of social work education in our country located in the index.

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