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Social Service Worker - Immigrants and Refugees

Available: Fall

Program Description

The Social Service Worker - Immigrants and Refugees program prepares you to succeed as a social service provider working with immigrants and refugees from diverse backgrounds. With a framework based on equity, social justice and anti-oppression principles, this program provides you with a thorough understanding of pre-migration conditions that cause individuals and communities to leave their countries of origin. The program also prepares you to help clients with challenges they face throughout the process of migration and during the process of integration at the host country.

As a graduate, you will possess skills in the areas of international and national migration policies as well as settlement counselling, case management, information and referral, community development, advocacy, fundraising and proposal writing, program planning, development and evaluation. These skills will be supported by an in-depth knowledge about ways in which the intersection of race, class, gender, nationality, ability, education, religion, immigration status and sexual orientation hinder or improve the living conditions of immigrants and refugees.

In the program you are challenged to examine your own beliefs and values and promote social justice, human dignity and equality. Your success in this program is measured by your ability to grow and change and by your academic performance. Your experience is enriched through group interaction and individual work within the classroom setting, seminar format and by the integration of field placement experience with theoretical knowledge. Field work prepares you for employment. It allows you to gain hands-on experience and to learn about organizational operations and initiatives and sector-wide initiatives.

Field Work

Field work provides you with a valuable opportunity to apply your learning to the workplace. In order to be eligible for field work, you will be required to meet the criteria as set out in the "Social Service Worker – Immigrants and Refugees Program: Student Code of Conduct". You will assume the role of a 'beginning professional' in a supervised field placement setting, working within an employer-employee relationship.

You will benefit from supervision and have specified hours, duties and accountabilities to Seneca College, field placement agency, clients and the community at large. Field work is a mutually agreed contract for which you will be evaluated by the field placement supervisor. The minimum commitment is the successful completion of specific periods as set out in the Field Placement Learning Contract.

These periods are typically:

  • The equivalent of two full days per week in semesters two, three and four;
  • Full week block placements as scheduled throughout the program duration.

Provincial Registration

In order to practice in Ontario as a "Social Service Worker" or a "Registered Social Service Worker", graduates must apply for registration in the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW). Graduates of the SSWI program will meet the education requirement for registration. For more information, please visit



4 Semesters (2 Years)

Credential Awarded

Ontario College Diploma

Your Career

Earn your Ontario College Diploma in Social Service Worker – Immigrants and Refugees (SSWI), and you'll be prepared for careers such as a settlement counsellor or a settlement worker in schools, shelters and reception centres. your career may lead you to employment with mainstream service organizations as well as settlement agencies, schools, shelter for refugees, community centres, parenting drop-in centres, the criminal justice system, health, reception centres, women's programs and shelters and agencies offering services for immigrant youth, people dealing with disabilities, mental health, addiction, poverty and inter-generational challenges. Based on your skills, interest and professional background, you can work as a job search workshop facilitator, host program worker, settlement worker, housing worker, school settlement worker or within settings that directly deal with advocacy or policy-related initiatives.

Graduates of the SSWI program are eligible for registration with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW).

Related Careers


This Seneca program has been validated by the Credential Validation Service as an Ontario College Credential as required by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development.

Admission Requirements

Program Eligibility

  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent with:
    • Grade 12 English: ENG4(C) or ENG4(U)
  • OR Mature Student Status (age 19 or older) with the above prerequisite course(s), their equivalent(s) or appropriate Academic and Career Entrance (ACE) Certificate program credits (see Academic Upgrading).

Applicant Selection

  • In the event of oversubscription, applicants will be required to submit a résumé and a brief essay outlining why they want to enrol in the program.

Prior to Field Placement

A current Police Vulnerable Sector screening:

  • Applicants living in the city of Toronto can expect to wait a minimum of 8-12 weeks to receive a Police Check.


Although not required for admission, proficiency in a language in addition to English is recommended for your success in the program.

Program Costs

Choose academic year:

Tuition – Domestic


Tuition – International


Book & Supply Costs


Please note: All costs are approximate, may vary by campus and are subject to change at any time without notice. Parking, locker and some mandatory incidental fees are among the charges not included in the figures above.

Program Details

The Degree and Credit Transfer Office provides a number of services for students continuing their education at Seneca, and for graduating students considering degree transfer options.

Through transfer agreements and institution partnerships, graduates of this Seneca College program may be eligible for credit at various post-secondary institutions. Please refer to the Degree Transfer Guide for more information.

Transfer Credit may be granted for courses deemed equivalent to courses at Seneca that have been completed at recognized postsecondary institutions. Additional information is available online.

Students who successfully complete this diploma program with a minimum 3.0 GPA, may be considered for admission into the 5th semester of the Honours Bachelor of Community Mental Health program, after a bridge semester in the summer.

Please take a few moments to view Important Academic Dates for your relevant term.

Please select the curriculum from the Academic Year in which you started (or will be starting) your studies. An Academic Year begins in September and ends in August of the following year.

Also see: English and General Education requirements.


Need to know more about your application and/or the application process? Reach out to our admissions advisors for assistance.

416.491.5050 ext. 22840

Student Recruitment

Have questions about Seneca’s campuses, financial aid, student supports and more? Connect with one of our student recruiters for more information or to book a campus tour.

416.491.5050 ext. 22608
Additional Contacts
Financial Aid & Awards

Program Coordinator

Philip Ackerman 416.491.5050 ext. 33540

Program Chair

Biljana Bruce 416.491.5050 ext. 55002

Why Choose Seneca?

Passionate, expert faculty from a range of professions

Real-world learning experiences through paid and non-paid work opportunities

Curriculums developed in collaboration with industry advisory committees

A variety of credentials offered from certificates, diplomas, degrees, and graduate certificates

Opportunities to pathway to higher level credentials at Seneca and other universities in our transfer partnership network