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Copyright © 2014: Queen's Printer,
Statutes of Newfoundland and Labrador 2014
AN ACT TO AMEND THE SOCIAL WORKERS ACT
(Assented to December 16, 2014)
2. Part III.1 Added
39.1 Quality assurance
Be it enacted by the Lieutenant-Governor and House of Assembly in Legislative Session convened, as follows:
1. Subsection 27(1) of the Social Workers Act is amended by adding immediately after paragraph (a) the following:
(a.1) refer the allegation to the quality assurance committee;
2. The Act is amended by adding immediately after section 39 the following:
Quality assurance program
39.1 (1) The board shall establish and maintain a quality assurance program to promote high standards of practice for social workers.
(2) The quality assurance program shall include mandatory continuing education and professional development and shall be designed to promote
(a) continuing competence; and
(b) continuing quality improvement.
Quality assurance committee
39.2 (1) The board shall appoint a committee known as the quality assurance committee.
(2) The quality assurance committee shall investigate a concern
(a) on the referral of a quality assurance issue by
(i) the registrar, or
(ii) the complaints authorization committee; or
(b) on its own accord.
(3) The quality assurance committee may
(a) subpoena records, including client records;
(b) order a social worker to undergo an evaluation, assessment or examination;
(c) order a review of a social worker’s practice, including any consequential review of client records;
(d) order periodic or random audits of aspects of a social worker’s practice; and
(e) accept an agreement between the registrar and the social worker to give effect to matters which could be ordered by the quality assurance committee.
(4) Where a social worker fails to comply with an order made by the quality assurance committee, that committee shall refer that failure to comply as an allegation to the complaints authorization committee.
39.3 (1) The quality assurance committee may appoint persons registered as social workers under this Act as assessors for the purpose of the quality assurance program.
(2) An assessor may, for the purpose of the quality assurance program
(a) enter, without notice and at reasonable times, places where social work is practised to make necessary inspections;
(b) inspect the social worker’s records of care administered to clients;
(c) require from the social worker or another person information required by the quality assurance committee or the assessor respecting the assessment and care of clients by the social worker, or his or her records of care administered to clients;
(d) access client records without the consent of that client; and
(e) require that the social worker confer with the quality assurance committee.
(3) A social worker whose standards of practice are the subject of an assessment under the quality assurance program shall cooperate fully with the quality assurance committee and assessors.
(4) All records and specific information relating to the quality assurance program or a review, recommendation or order under it are confidential.
(5) Paragraphs (2)(a) to (d) and subsection (7) apply to the Crown.
(6) The quality assurance committee and an assessor appointed under subsection (1) shall have the powers, privileges and immunities that are conferred on a commissioner under the Public Inquiries Act, 2006.
(7) An action for damages does not lie against a person to whom a request is made solely because he or she provides information requested of him or her under paragraph (2)(c).
Report and compliance
39.4 (1) Upon completion of an assessment an assessor shall submit a report of his or her findings to the quality assurance committee and the committee shall review the report and may
(a) make no recommendation to the social worker who has been assessed; or
(b) confer with the social worker assessed and make those remedial recommendations to him or her that the quality assurance committee considers appropriate.
(2) The quality assurance committee may order
(a) the social worker who has been assessed to comply with recommendations made by the committee under subsection (1); and
(b) that a social worker be reassessed.
39.5 The costs incurred by a social worker in implementing remedial recommendations of the quality assurance committee shall be paid by that social worker and shall not be a cost of the quality assurance committee, the board or the association.
Termination of review
39.6 (1) Where an assessor or a member of the quality assurance committee learns, in the course of a review, that a social worker may be guilty of conduct deserving of sanction within the meaning of section 23, the assessment shall be terminated, the social worker shall be advised, and the matter shall be referred to the complaints authorization committee to be dealt with as an allegation.
(2) Notwithstanding subsection 39.3(4), an assessor or a member of a quality assurance committee shall provide all information and documents in its possession relating to the review to the complaints authorization committee.
(3) An order of the quality assurance committee issued before it refers a matter to the complaints authorization committee under subsection (1) remains in effect notwithstanding the referral of the matter to the complaints authorization committee.
Duty to report
39.7 (1) A social worker who has knowledge, from direct observation or objective evidence, of conduct deserving of sanction of another social worker shall report the known facts to the registrar.
(2) A person who terminates the employment of or dissolves a partnership with a social worker based on direct knowledge of the social worker’s conduct deserving of sanction shall report the known facts to the registrar.
(3) An action shall not be brought against a social worker, officer, partnership, employer or association for the sole reason that the person, officer, partnership, employer or association complied with this section.
3. This Act comes into force on a day to be proclaimed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council.