What do community social services workers do?

Community Social Services 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 15,000 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?

There is a crisis in community social services, and it’s getting worse. 

After the group home closures, we are seeing cutbacks in agencies that serve women in crisis, families, people with disabilities, children with special needs and many others who rely on these community-based services.

Since 2001, the B.C. Liberals have cut funding and taken millions out of the sector, stretching resources to the breaking point. In places, entire programs are closing. Waiting lists have grown at an alarming rate. And many workers are now dealing with unsustainable workloads.

Low wages and deteriorating working conditions are creating a serious recruitment and retention crisis throughout the sector. Without adequate funding, agencies are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain a stable, professional workforce – the key to quality support and continuity of service. 

Why are you asking for a fair deal?

Community social service workers are taking a stand, because they care.

We are asking the government to stop putting the squeeze on community social services.

Community social services cannot survive without a commitment from government to recognize the vital role these services play in our communities.

Who is behind this website?

The Community Social Services Union Bargaining Association created this website. All unions certified by the BC Labour Relations Board to represent the 15,000 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

Ways to keep in touch