Social workers are facing increasingly complex client needs during the coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Because of the social distancing requirements of the pandemic, social workers have undergone transformative changes in practice with the rapid uptake of virtual technologies. The objective of our study was to understand the experiences of social workers during the first-wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. We conducted a cross-sectional, web-based survey, comprised of close-ended and open-ended questions. Survey participants included social workers who were the members of a provincial social work association in Ontario, Canada. With n = 2,470 participants, the response rate was close to 40 per cent. Descriptive statistics were conducted on the close-ended questions. Two open-ended questions were coded using the thematic analysis. Nine themes were identified on the impact to social worker’s employment status: increased work-load; loss of employment; redeployment to new settings; early retirement; concern for personal health and safety; social workers in private practice seeing fewer clients; personal caregiving responsibilities; limiting recent graduates’ employment potential and social workers experiencing new opportunities. There were five themes on the impact on social work practice: clients with increasing complexities; challenges with transition to virtual care; benefits with transition to virtual care; adapting in-person services and personal well-being.