Policies and Procedures
Placement hours do not include breaks.
Placement hours per day for all students may not exceed eight (8) placement hours.
Students in their first placement are required to complete 30 hours of placement per week, Tuesday to Friday, in the winter term (360 hours over 12 weeks).
Students in their second placement are required to complete 30 hours of placement per week, Tuesday to Friday, in the fall term (360 hours over 12 weeks).
Evening hours are required by some placement agencies.
Summer placements during July and August cannot be negotiated.
Public holidays cannot be counted towards a placement. The field office plans start and end dates for placement around public holidays.
Students interested in joining faculty committees should refer to the policy Principles and Guidelines with Respect to Student Time for Participation in Faculty of Social Work for details about placement time commitments.
Field Placement Hours Time Sheets
Students attending placement are required to submit a student placement hours time sheet to their field instructor every two weeks and then submit the up-to-date time sheet to the field office along with their midterm and final evaluation.
Overtime required in connection with intern practice should follow the usual policy of the agency, but may not accumulate beyond a one month period. Students should arrange with their field instructor for compensatory time to be taken within four weeks following the accrual of substantial amounts of overtime. Overtime should not be used to shorten the span of the placement.
Please be advised that as per a policy decision at the Faculty of Social Work Divisional Council meeting on Nov. 20, 1991, BSW students in field placement during fall and winter terms will be allowed to take Laurier’s reading week, or its equivalent, off placement. The following conditions or considerations apply:
- School board students take March break off instead of reading week, not in addition to.
- Agencies and students may negotiate four (4) days off at other times throughout placement as it suits the needs of all concerned.
- Students may not take the four-day period at the end of placement as the intention is to maintain the current length of the placement period.
- Last day of placement for each cohort is outlined in the placement dates (unless a student needs to make-up any missed hours/days).
- Students cannot complete field placement until they have completed all the required hours and days and are expected to make-up any missed placement hours or days.
- Students cannot change their days in placement without a formal request and approval from the Field Education Office. Request for changes to the placement schedule after the start of a placement may not be considered.
If you are unable to meet any of the midterm or final evaluation deadlines, please advise the field office prior to the due date. Delayed submissions impact the grade entry for students and their ability to register for courses in a timely manner.
Absences, Illnesses and Critical Events
Absence from Field
Interns are required to contact their field instructor immediately to report illness or any other situation requiring absence from placement. The field instructor will inform the field coordinator of any absences exceeding three consecutive days. Interns do not attend placement during Reading Week. Should they wish to attend that week they may negotiate with their instructor to take other days away.
Illness and Critical Events
In consultation with the field office, interns may be away from placement for planned and unexpected absences, such as notices of closure by agency (e.g. snow days, strike), as well as critical events (documented illness, serious family difficulties, etc.) to a maximum of 10 hours without being required to make up lost placement time.
If the intern is away or is planning to be away from the placement for a week or more, the field instructor, field advisor and the field coordinator must be notified, by the intern, as soon as possible. These four people will consult and decide upon a plan suitable to the circumstances. Normally, an intern will make up any time off over and above time off allowed for critical or health related situations. Overtime accrued before the situation occurred will serve as make-up time.
Faculty Events and Workshops
Interns who are away from placement for faculty events such as specialized learning modules or approved conferences, including faculty committee work up to five hours a month, are not required to make up time in placement. Interns wishing to attend a workshop during field time will negotiate that with the practicum instructor. The field instructor ultimately makes a decision on whether the student is required to make up the hours. Normally, if the event is related to the field cases or projects, the intern may not be required to make up the time. In other situations negotiation will occur with consideration given to learning and client/community responsibilities. Make-up time will be required as a condition for approval of a request for special leave.
Student Professional Behaviour Concerns
Should the student or practicum instructor have any difficulty they should do as follows:
- Where a learning difficulty is identified by the student or the field instructor, the field instructor and the student are encouraged to refer back to the Learning Plan, which was developed within the first three (3) weeks of placement. The field advisor may be involved to clarify any student or instructor concerns.
- When the concern is around a student's professional behaviour and/or learning, a meeting is facilitated by the field advisor with the student and the field instructor(s). The field advisor initiates an intern-in-difficulty procedure which involves a discussion of the concerns and developiong a concrete plan to address the concerns.
- Field coordinators are involved in the event these concerns persist and the student's placement is at jeapordy. A review of professional behaviour procedure may be initiated by the field coordinators at this point. This process also occurs when placements are terminated by instructors due to learning/behaviour concerns, and if a student fails their placement.
- Consult the Faculty of Social Work Policy for the Review of Students' Professional Behaviour and Laurier’s Student Code of Conduct and Discipline.
Policy for BSW Students with Accommodation Needs
Termination of Placement
Under unique situations, a student's placement may be terminated by the Field Instructor or the Field Office. The practicum is a course and student's cannot terminate a placement. Placement hours do not carry over.
For a detailed outline of the Termination process see:
- Intern-in-difficulty Procedure
- Termination flowchart
An 'unsatisfactory' midterm or final evaluation is considered a fail. In this event, the student has the opportunity to appeal the field placement course grade. This is treated as a case-by-case basis and the field office and BSW associate dean work with the student to facilitate this process.
Expenses and Remuneration
Expenses incurred by the intern in the placement agency will ordinarily be met by the placement centre. Normally the intern’s gas costs for agency business are covered by the placement centre. Parking costs are not covered. Costs for workshops, police record checks, and immunizations (where required) may or may not be covered by the practicum centre. If not, costs are covered by the intern. The cost of attending other meetings or conferences called by the faculty will be borne by the faculty.
Full-time interns do not receive payment during their placement and may not charge clients fees other than those that may be usual for the agency to charge. Part-time interns completing placement in their workplace may negotiate payment with their employer distinct from the Faculty of Social Work.
Criminal Records Check/Tuberculosis Tests
Police Record Checks
Many organizations accepting BSW students are servicing vulnerable populations. A Police Record Check (PRC) helps to ensure the safety of the clients they serve. By completing a PRC, you will have many more placement options to choose from. There are three levels of PRCs. This includes a Criminal Record Check, Information Check and Vulnerable Sector Screening. If you expect to work with children, youth, seniors, people with disabilities, or people with mental health issues, then a Police Vulnerable Sector Screening will likely be required. Many community partners may request a PRC as part of their screening process. It is not a Laurier requirement.
How to get a Police Record Check
- Visit your local police service (see below) and follow the procedures they have in place. The police service may require you to present a letter from Laurier confirming your participation in a course that has a BSW placement.
- Tell them you require a PRC because you will be completing a BSW placement with a community organization. Fill out any required paperwork.
- The Police Service will provide the results of a completed PRC only to you. It is your decision to share the results of a PRC with the community partner. You can talk to BSW field office if you are having difficulty making this decision.
To apply, you must visit, in person, the Police Reporting Centre.
See detailed information on police record check procedures on the Brantford Police Service website. To apply, you must download and fill out the forms available on their webpage.
You must then visit the Brantford Police Station in person with standard identification and the applicable fees. The Brantford Police Service is located at 344 Elgin Street, Brantford.
Students who currently reside in Waterloo Region or Brantford must provide proof of their residency, (i.e. valid driver’s license, valid lease agreement, utility bill for current month or bank statement) to get a record check completed. You can also get your record check done in the city in which you reside and bring it with you when you return to campus for classes.
When To Apply
Police record checks take three to four weeks to complete. Some communities take longer to process requests. Do not sign up for placements that require a copy of your PRC prior to the start date if you do not have one in hand. Some placements will allow you to start a placement if you can prove that you have started the process, (i.e. providing a receipt).
New RCMP procedures require that if you have any criminal offenses on your record, you may be required to get fingerprinted at your local police service. You will need to allow additional time to complete this process.
Typical fees range from $15 to $45. BSW students are not eligible for community volunteer discounts. There may be an additional fee if fingerprinting is required.
Dates of Police Record Checks
The majority of community organizations require a PRC that is no less than six months old. Some require a PRC no less than 30 days old.
Some placements require a tuberculosis (TB) test. If you need one, contact the Student Wellness Centre on either the Waterloo or Brantford campus for more information.
The TB test is a two-step process; each step is $20 at the Student Wellness Centre. The second step is completed two days after the first.
Additional Agency Requirements
Some agencies may require additional requirements such as: agency applications, orientation, updated immunizations and records. These requirements must be met by the intern before the start of practicum. These requirements are normally stated on the portal for each placement opportunity, and agencies also inform students of these requirements prior to or during the interview.
Worker's Compensation Coverage
By law, Wilfrid Laurier University is responsible for registered interns in the event of an unpaid workplace injury. All social work interns in this program who are involved in an unpaid placement and are placed in a setting registered with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) are covered by that act. In the event of placement related injury or illness interns may be eligible for benefits related to uninsured health costs and in some cases lost pay. Interns who are in settings not registered with WSIB are covered by an insurance plan paid for by the Province of Ontario.
In the event of a placement related injury or illness, or the possibility of a placement related injury or illness, interns and field instructors are advised to consult with the field coordinator. The time frame for claims is very short and stringent so immediate action is required.
This benefit to interns is at no cost to agencies and will not impact on their risk assessments with WSIB.
Wilfrid Laurier University provides general liability coverage for interns on field placement assignment. This policy covers bodily injury, property damage and malpractice liability.
Completing the WSIB Form
Please read carefully, as the following information has recently changed as per new procedures outlined by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU). We will no longer be using the Work/Education Placement Agreement (WEPA) form.
Students are required to submit a completed Student Declaration of Understanding form. By signing this form, students are confirming that they understand that WSIB or private insurance coverage will be provided through the MTCU while they are on a placement arranged by the university as a requirement of their program of study.
This form must be submitted to the Field Education Office within the first week of the placement.
Note: Students cannot continue in placement if this form is not submitted by the deadline.