POSTPONED: 2020 Inspiring Social Worker Award


Unfortunately due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Paul Cheng Annual Inspiring Social Worker of the Year Award (2020) will be postponed until next year. We will warmly invite applications again next year.


The Inspiring Social Worker of the Year Award (2020)


 Social work is a discipline and profession that requires practitioners to have a strong commitment to caring and social justice. Despite the tremendous pressure of limited resources and heavy workloads, many dedicated social workers in British Columbia work promote social justice and equity on a regular basis at many levels of practice and policy.

The UBC School of Social Work is proud to commemorate the contributions an outstanding social justice activist and social work leading-light, Paul Cheng. Paul was a social worker who immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong and dedicated himself to serve refugees, new immigrants, youth in care, street-involved youth, people with addictions, and many others in Hong Kong and Canada for over forty years. It is widely recognized by his colleagues, clients, students, and friends that Paul’s deep caring, enduring social justice ethics, strong professional practice, and tireless personal efforts touched and inspired many people in the social work and larger community. In memory of Paul, the Inspiring Social Worker of the Year Award was established to recognize social workers in British Columbia whose professional and personal efforts and dedication to people from marginalized communities has inspired others to care and contribute to social justice.


The Award:


 Upon the recommendation of an adjudication committee, one successful nominee each year will receive the Award and an honorarium of $2,000.00 for sharing her/his experience at the Paul Cheng Memorial Lecture. The lecture will be on early in September (date tba by March) at the University of British Columbia, Paul Cheng’s Alma Mater. The presentation will be video recorded and uploaded to the School’s website. It will also be linked to BCASW’s website for a wider audience.


Nomination Criteria:


 A nominee for the Inspiring Social Worker of the Year will:

  1. have formal social work training at the bachelor’s level or above (not necessarily from Canada),
  2. practice or practiced social work in British Columbia,
  3. demonstrate a strong commitment to social justice in work with marginalized populations,
  4. be recognized as a role model who inspires


Nomination and Adjudication Process:


Nominations will be received from March 18 to June 15, 2020. All nominations will be sent by email to with the phrase Inspiring Social Worker Award in the subject line.

To nominate a candidate, please attach:

    1. a brief statement of consent signed by the nominee,
    2. 1-2 page CV of the nominee with contact information
    3. 2-3 page narrative summarizing the work by the nominee that demonstrates their commitment to social justice and how/who the nominee has inspired,
    4. two recommendation letters written with good knowledge of the work and inspirational influence of the nominee.


The Award is co-sponsored and organized by the British Columbia Association of Social Workers and the University of British Columbia, School of Social Work. The adjudication committee will be formed in April with two members from BCASW, two members from the UBC School of Social Work and the funder (or her delegate). Announcement of the winner will be made in early June.


Should you have any questions, please contact Dianne Heath, Executive Director, BCASW at or Donna Baines, Director and Professor, UBC School of Social Work at

Please click here for the flyer with details on nomination criteria and the adjudication process.