What do community social services (CSS) workers do?

Community social services workers are rarely in the public eye – although the problems they help solve are often in the news.

Community social service workers are caring professionals. They help and support the most vulnerable members of our communities, including youth at risk, women, people with disabilities, immigrants, First Nations, and many others.

  • When women flee abusive relationships along with their frightened children, they turn to community social services;
  • When families need support for their developmentally disabled children, they turn to community social services;
  • When teens need assistance to get off the street, they turn to community social services;
  • When infants are born with disabilities or serious health problems, they turn to community social services;
  • When immigrants need help to resettle in their new country, they turn to community social services;
  • ... and many more!

Community social services workers are the heart and soul of our communities!

Community social service workers...

  • work in residences and day programs for people with developmental disabilities
  • support families and youth in need
  • provide quality child care
  • support victims of violence
  • assist those with substance abuse issues
  • provide services for children with special needs
  • counsel and support immigrant families
  • provide services to aboriginal people
  • offer a range of services for women
  • support people dealing with physical and emotional abuse
  • work with those who are facing job loss, life skill and decision-making problems
  • support people with emotional and mental health challenges

How large is the sector?

There are about 16,000 unionized community social service workers across British Columbia. They work for agencies contracted by the government to provide these services. They are not social workers or government workers.

What are the problems in the sector?

The community social services sector has been in crisis for well over a decade and the CSSBA is committed to bargaining the mandate of their membership. This includes winning improved working conditions, better wages and benefits as well as addressing precarious working conditions.

In building a better B.C. for everyone, the provincial government named three key priorities in its strategic plan for the next three years: making life more affordable; delivering services people can count on; and building a strong, sustainable economy. The new collective agreement we are working to negotiate for CSS workers can help government deliver on these important goals. See: Province of BC Strategic Plan 2018/19 - 2021/22.

Why are we asking for a fair deal?

There isn’t a family in B.C. that hasn’t received support, or knows someone who’s received support, from a community social service worker. Every day, CSS workers make sure some of the province’s most vulnerable citizens are safe and cared for, and we are here to make sure those that provide this care are valued and supported.

The CSSBA is seeking low wage redress due to systemic cuts to the sector, and to address precarious working conditions while improving services to clients and their families.

Who is behind this website?

All unions certified by the BC Labour Relations Board to represent the 16,000 workers in the community social services sector are members of this group, which was created in June 2003 by the Community Services Labour Relations Act.

There are ten member unions in the Community Social Services Union Bargaining Association, including:

Ways our members help