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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
September 27, 2016
Canadian Excellence

Faculty of Social Work Celebrates 50 Years of Research and Education

On Sept. 6, 1966, the Faculty of Social Work (FSW) first opened its doors at Wilfrid Laurier University in space provided by the Seminary. There were 28 students enrolled that year. The dean was Sheldon L. Rahn. As we begin our 50th year in the fall, there will be just over 600 full-time and part-time BSW, MSW and PhD students at Wilfrid Laurier.

This September we invite our alumni to return to Laurier to celebrate 50 years of social work research and education.

Lecture – Canada’s Failure: Not Doing Better When it Knows Better for First Nations Children

This presentation shows a long pattern of the federal government knowing what to do to help First Nations children and repeatedly failing to take the measures necessary to fix the problem. The lecture culminates in a discussion of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal’s legal ruling in 2016 that Canada is racially discriminating against 163,000 First Nations children by providing inequitable child welfare services and failing to implement Jordan’s Principle. This systemic discrimination against First Nations children is deeply embedded and normalized in Canada and in other countries around the world. Strategies for redress, including the participation of children, are discussed.

Dr. Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, Associate Professor, University of Alberta 

A member of the Gitksan First Nation, Cindy has 25 years' of social work experience in child protection and Indigenous children’s rights. Her promotion of culturally based and evidence informed solutions has been recognized by the Nobel Women’s Initiative, the Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, Frontline Defenders and many others. An author of over 50 publications and a widely sought after public speaker, Cindy has collaborated with other Indigenous leaders to assist the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in the development and adoption of a General Comment on the Rights of Indigenous children. She also recently worked with Indigenous young people, UNICEF and the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to produce a youth friendly version of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Cindy is currently completing a Master of Jurisprudence in Children’s Law and Policy at the Loyola University Chicago. 

Date: Thursday, September 22, 2016
Time: 7 to 9 p.m.
Location: Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) | 67 Erb Street West in Waterloo.
Cost: This is a free event but registration is required as space is limited.


Symposium – The Influence of Social Work Research on Social Work Practice

Since its inception in 1966, the Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier has been home to numerous researchers whose insightful, innovative and leading edge work has had significant impacts on social work policy and practice. In celebration of our 50 year anniversary, we invite you to attend our symposium, The Influence of Social Work Research on Social Work Practice. Eight faculty members will be presenting a current research project and discussing its influence on policy and practice. A barbecue lunch will follow, giving you an opportunity to speak with the faculty and reconnect with former classmates.

Date: Friday, September 23, 2016
Time: 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Location: Faculty of Social Work | 120 Duke Street West, Kitchener
Cost: This is a free event but registration is required as space is limited.


For more information, contact Lynne Jordan at or 519-884-0710 ext. 5265.