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As part of the provincial mental health services continuum, BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services (BCMHSUS) provides a diverse range of specialized, "one-of-a-kind" tertiary mental health and substance use services to adults across the province. These include services located at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital and six regional clinics, the Burnaby Centre for Mental Health & Addiction, and Heartwood Centre for Women. In addition to delivering these clinical services, BCMHSUS provides provincial leadership for system-wide improvement through its work in: health promotion and illness prevention; knowledge exchange; and research and academic teaching.  


BCMHSUS is an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA), which plans, manages and evaluates selected specialty and province-wide health care services across BC. PHSA embodies values that reflect a commitment to excellence. These include: Respect people • Be compassionate • Dare to innovate • Cultivate partnerships • Serve with purpose. 


Forensic Social Worker
Reference #62219

Temporary Full Time (Until July 2018)

BSW Wage:  $29.08 to $36.24 per hour

MSW: Wage: $32.39 to $40.40 per hour

Forensic Psychiatric Hospital

Coquitlam, BC 


Forensic Psychiatric Hospital is a secure, 190-bed facility that treats and rehabilitates individuals who have come in conflict with the law and are deemed unfit to stand trial or not criminally responsible due to mental illness (NCRMD). The goal is to restore fitness to attend court proceedings and/or reintegrate patients gradually and safely into the community. It also serves individuals transferred temporarily from correctional facilities to be assessed or receive treatment for a mental illness under the Mental Health Act. The facility consists of 9 clinical units (5 secure, 3 closed and 1 open unit).  


Job Summary


Within the context of a biopsychosocial framework and in accordance with the British Columbia College of Social Workers (BCCSW) standards of practice, the Forensic Social Worker (FSW) works under the general direction of the Director, Shared Services and with the clinical support of the Professional Practice Leader, Social Work,  as part of a multidisciplinary forensic psychiatric team to provide a defined range of forensic mental health social worker services to adults experiencing severe psychiatric and behavioral difficulties who have been referred by the Courts.  The FSW carries out social work psychiatric/psychological assessments services to adults who have been referred by the Courts; prepares ongoing written assessment of progress and submits written reports to the B.C. Board of Review and/or Review Panel regarding recommendation for release; collaborates and consults with other professionals in the coordination and review of treatment; provides psychosocial intervention and treatment services for psychiatric patients who may be held under Order-in-Council; Mental Health Act certification, Court Order and/or Informal criteria; and provides information and support to services.


Example of Duties and Accountabilities 

  • Completes a full biopsychosocial social work assessment of adults experiencing severe psychiatric and behavioral difficulties who have been referred by the Courts by methods such as interviewing patients to identify their developmental history and their perception of level of social functioning and problems; interviewing family members and other community sources for collateral information reviewing referral information from Police, Court and other community agencies; preparing a written assessment that may be utilized in Court, submitting recommendations and information related to diagnosis, fitness to stand trial, mental state at a time of offence and treatment plans; identifying client needs, problem areas and formulating treatment goals; preparing ongoing written assessment of client progress and submitting written reports to the B.C. Board of Review and/or Review Panel regarding recommendation for release.
  • Collaborates and consults with other professionals in the multi-disciplinary team in the coordination and review of patient treatment by methods such as participating in treatment conferences to determine team members responsibilities; monitoring treatment plans, re-evaluating and modifying treatment to meet changing needs of patients and/or his/her support system; providing systems perspective including family, social and community network to other team members; acting as a client advocate; planning client discharge and release to the community by arranging pre-placement visits, referrals to boarding homes, and community mental health support agencies; maintaining comprehensive documentation ensuring case reviews and tracking of client’s treatment progress; and providing information and support to families on an ongoing basis.
  • Provides psychosocial intervention and treatment services for psychiatric patients who may be held under Order-in-Council; Mental Health Act certification, Court Order and/or Informal criteria by methods such as functioning as Primary Counsellor for identified patients (psychotherapy and behavioural); carrying out evidence based individual, group and family therapies according to a variety of theoretical models; establishing and maintaining therapeutic relationships based on respect; providing supportive counselling to improve social functioning, self-esteem and independence for clients; providing group work treatment on alcohol and/or drug addiction and sex offender target groups; providing social skills and psycho-educational training; and providing psychosocial counselling.
  • Provides information, support and facilitates transition into FPSC by methods such as assessing client eligibility for income assistance and Legal Aid; retrieving patient belongings including arranging for property storage and rent payment; assisting the client and/or applying on behalf of clients for various needs, social insurance, birth certificate, handicapped benefits, Canada disability pension, Comfort Allowance; initiating Power of Attorney, guardianship and trusteeship for patients; and networking and interfacing with community support groups and agencies.
  • Maintains concise and accurate documentation of relevant information on client files in accordance with FPSC policy standards to meet regulatory requirements and provide evidence and rationale to support findings and treatment plan such as compiling pertinent background information.  Provides written reports and summaries as per FPSC policy, standards and guidelines.  



Education, Training and Experience 

  • Bachelor’s or Master's degree in Social Work from an accredited School of Social Work.
  • Two (2) years recent, related experience working in a mental health setting, or an equivalent combination of experience.
  • Full registration with the British Columbia College of Social Workers (BCCSW) is required. 

Example of Skills and Abilities 

  • Broad knowledge of and experience in utilizing developmental theories, family dynamics, behaviour management modalities; providing direct treatment through individual, group and family therapies; and other treatment services for adult offenders and their care givers.
  • Broad knowledge of the service delivery system for adults at risk at the local, regional and provincial level.
  • Broad knowledge of social work theory and Forensic Psychiatric Social Work practice.
  • Broad knowledge of BCCSW professional practice standards.
  • Broad knowledge of other health care disciplines and their role in client care.
  • Broad knowledge of Bill C30 and the Provincial Court system.
  • Broad knowledge of psychopharmacology (indications and side-effects).
  • Demonstrated ability in social work practice related to assessment of behaviour, risk and to assisting clients to regain/improve their coping abilities.
  • Demonstrated ability to conduct biopsychosocial psychiatric assessments, and provide intake, treatment, and discharge planning.
  • Demonstrated ability in completion of documentation that is in compliance with ministry, agency and legal requirements.
  • Demonstrated ability to assess clients’ responses to care and to respond appropriately.
  • Demonstrated ability to adjust to new or unexpected events and to problem solve.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, with clients and their families, colleagues, physicians, and other health care staff. 

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Applications will be accepted until position is filled.


ATTN: PHSA Employees:


To be considered as a PHSA employee (internal applicant) for this position, you must apply online via your internal profile at    


Please note the internal job posting will no longer be accessible after the expiry date of December 15, 2017.  If the internal job posting has expired, please contact the Internal Jobs Help Desk and advise that you would like to be considered as a late internal applicant for this position. Please do not apply for the external job posting.


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PHSA is committed to employment equity and hires on the basis of merit. We encourage applications from all qualified individuals, including Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities.

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