Virtually every family in B.C. has been touched by support from community-based social service agencies. They care and provide support for the most vulnerable among us, such as youths in conflict with the law, aboriginal families, the mentally ill and addicts facing their demons.
The Province of B.C. officially recognizes March as Community Social Services Awareness Month.
This is an opportunity to recognize the work of these caring professionals ensuring no one gets left behind, and celebrate our recent achievements for the sector.
Community social services matter because they help ensure that people don't fall through the cracks when they have a special need or when they are facing a crisis in their lives. Community social services make British Columbia's communities healthier and safer. They also strengthen our provincial economy with millions of dollars spent in jobs, programs, and services.
Frontline community-based social service workers and agencies help build safe, healthy, and caring communities across B.C that support everyone, especially vulnerable families. During difficult periods, or when a crisis arises, community-based social services are available to help individuals and families deal with life's challenges.
Unlike previous years, we now have some cause for celebration: Funding increases are finally coming to frontline community social service agencies that help those with the least.
On February 17, 11,000 unionized community social service workers ratified a new collective agreement negotiated by the Community Social Services Bargaining Association. The deal foresees wage increases of up to 11.5 percent by 2019, plus an economic stability dividend that may yield further pay increases.
The Community Social Services Bargaining Association, led by the BCGEU negotiated this deal with government at the public sector bargaining table, fulfilling a long-standing union promise to give this sector the attention it needs and deserves.
The negotiated wage increases will be a relief. They will see community-based social service workers significantly close the wage gap with comparable sectors, notably community health.
The provincial government has agreed to fully fund these increases, and we have that commitment in writing.
The Community Social Services Bargaining Association is proud to celebrate Community Social Services Awareness Month, and to have negotiated improved funding for services and supports for vulnerable British Columbians.