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Federal Changes to Maternity Benefits

On December 3, 2017, the Federal Government implemented changes to parental leave benefits, allowing parents to choose to receive employment insurance benefits over an extended period of up to 18 months at a lower benefit rate of 33% of average weekly earnings. Parental leave benefits still continue to be available at the existing benefit rate of 55% over a period of up to 12 months. These changes relate to federal EI rules only. BC legislation relating to parental leaves has not changed at this time. As a result, members should continue to look to their Collective Agreements and the Employment Standards Act (the ESA) for guidance on parental leaves and associated benefits.

Under Article 21.1 of the Collective Agreements and s. 50 and 51 of the ESA, an employee who provides notice that they will be taking 18 months of parental leave must still be granted maternity leave for a period of up to 17 weeks; in addition, the employee will be granted parental leave for up to 37 weeks following the birth her child. The aggregate leave for one employee taking both maternity leave and parental leave does not exceed 52 weeks, absent complications (there are other possible limited periods of leave).  During this time, the employer bears the cost of benefits. Once the first 12 months of the leave are exhausted under Articles 21.1 and 21.2, the additional 6 months of leave is already covered under Article 21.9, which provides for up to one additional year of unpaid leave of absence. The cost of benefits during this period are to be paid by the employee.

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New Wage Grids Now Available

Updated wage grids that incorporate the recently announced Economic Stability Dividend (ESD) and general wage increase are now available for Aboriginal Services, Community Living Services and General Services divisions, as well as Aboriginal Services Delegated Programs.

The Minister of Finance recently announced the ESD, which amounts to a 0.4% wage increase for employees covered by collective agreements settled under the government’s Economic Stability Mandate. Both the 0.4% ESD and 1.0% general wage increase are effective February 1, 2018.

Aboriginal Services Delegated Programs

The 0.4% ESD and general wage increase of 1% will come into effect on February 4, 2018 for delegated positions. The ESD will amount to $0.1212 per hour for delegated positions. A second general wage increase of 0.5% will be effective April 1, 2018 for delegated positions only.…

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Details on Upcoming Economic Stability Dividend

The province announced earlier in November that employees covered by agreements settled under the government’s Economic Stability Mandate — including those who work in the social services sector — will soon be receiving a wage increase.

The increase stems from the Economic Stability Dividend included in the 2014-2019 collective agreements, which allow for ongoing general wage increases when the provincial Gross Domestic Product (GDP) exceeds Economic Forecast Council (EFC) projections. The wage increase is calculated based on 50% of the positive difference between the EFC forecast for real GDP growth and the provincial GDP data tabulated by Statistics Canada.

The ESD wage increase will be effective February 1, 2018. CSSEA will be working with the unions to calculate the increases and will distribute new wage grids when they are finalized.…

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Update on Class 5 Driver's License Arbitration

CSSEA recently informed members about a decision on a sectoral policy grievance filed by the Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) on the payment of Class 5 driver’s licenses. The decision ruled that, as of June 12, 2017, employers must pay the renewal fees for Class 5 driver’s licences ($75 every five years) for employees who are required to drive their own vehicles as part of their jobs or who are required to confirm that they hold a valid Class 5 driver’s licence as a job requirement.

Appeal Filed

After a careful review of the award, CSSEA filed an appeal to the Labour Relations Board. Under the Labour Relations Code, there is no avenue for a full-fledged appeal of the Award that would result in a re-hearing of the arguments; instead, an appeal is restricted to whether there was a reviewable error made by the Arbitrator in the arbitration process. CSSEA appealed the Award on the basis that critical evidence of union acquiescence in employer practices of non-payment of the license fees was not properly considered by the arbitrator; similarly, a key argument that employers do not require employees to acquire the license, but instead the Motor Vehicle Act does, was not properly considered. The Labour Relations Board has not provided a time frame for when it will issue a decision on the appeal.

In the meantime, the arbitration award is binding on all employers covered by the three Collective Agreements. Employees who are required to hold a Class 5 licence for employer business purposes and who renew their licences on or after June 12, 2017 must be reimbursed $75 for the cost of the licence.…

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2017 Annual Report Released

CSSEA’s 2017 Annual Report, containing excerpted highlights from our approved audited financial statements, is now available online.

If you have any questions, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , Manager of Communications.…

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Implications of Recent Class 5 Driver's License Arbitration

The Decision

A decision was rendered regarding a sectoral policy grievance filed by the Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) on June 12, 2017. The policy grievance claimed that employers must pay the renewal fees for Class 5 driver’s licences ($75 every five years) for employees who are required to drive their own vehicles as part of their jobs or who are required to confirm that they hold a valid Class 5 driver’s licence as a job requirement. In his decision released September 13, 2017, Arbitrator Robert Pekeles ruled in favour of the CSSBA.

Arguments Presented

The CSSBA argued that employers must reimburse employees for the Class 5 licence in the same way that they must reimburse employees for the cost of renewing a Class 4 licence, as determined in an April 12, 2012 arbitration award issued by Arbitrator Vince Ready. It further argued that the obligation on employers to pay for licences that they require employees to possess is clearly set out in Article 28.12 – Required Certificates, under the Collective Agreements.

CSSEA argued that the Class 4 licence award does not apply in this case and further, that there was no clear agreement reached by the parties under the language of Article 28.12 leading to a conclusion that employers would pay for the cost of renewing Class 5 licences. Given that the provision was not clear, other evidence of the parties’ practice should be used to assist the arbitrator in determining that they never intended the Class 5 licence fees to be payable by employers. CSSEA’s evidence and key arguments can be summarized in the following:…

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Announcing 2017's Awards of Excellence Recipients

CSSEA is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2017 Community Social Services Awards of Excellence. The third annual awards recognizes four individuals working in various stages of their careers who have made outstanding contributions to the sector. On behalf of co-presenter TELUS, CSSEA’s Shortlisting Committee and our external judging panel, we congratulate:

Rising Star
Damian Brennan, Community Support Worker, Chilliwack Society for Community Living
A newcomer to the community social services sector, Damian has shown immense promise in working with individuals who display challenging behaviours. He uses his skills as a musician to connect with individuals and devotes much of his own time and resources to support them. This includes being available to family members at off hours, using his own networks to connect individuals to their community and being a generally upbeat person that colleagues can turn to.

Hero
Paulina Weslowski, Community Support Worker, Semiahmoo House Society
Paulina has been particularly passionate about building an inclusive and multicultural community throughout the Lower Mainland. Paulina’s efforts to share her Mexican heritage are notable in her involvement with the Mexican Migrant Farm Worker program at her church, as well as her facilitation of and participation in multicultural dance and Spanish language programs. Paulina is also an active volunteer and has lent her efforts at soup kitchens, a senior facility and thrift shop.…

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Premier Announces New Cabinet

BC’s new Premier, John Horgan, has unveiled his new cabinet, which comprises 20 ministers and two ministers of state. Among the highlights of the new government will be a stand-alone Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, a Minister of State for Child Care and a Minister for Social Development and Poverty Reduction.

Key ministers for our sector include:

  • Minister of State for Child Care – Hon. Katrina Chen
  • Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction – Hon. Shane Simpson
  • Minister of Children and Family Development – Hon. Katrine Conroy
  • Minister of Mental Health and Addictions – Hon. Judy Darcy
  • Attorney General – Hon. David Eby…

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Revised EIP Policies and Procedures Now Available

In collaboration with the Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA), CSSEA has updated the Early Intervention Program (EIP) Policies and Procedures guidelines, which govern the Community Social Services Early Intervention Program (CSSEIP).


The CSSEIP is jointly supported by CSSEA and the CSSBA as a mandatory program that complements a long-term disability plan and facilitates the proactive early return-to-work for employees with occupational and non-occupational disabilities. In addition to outlining the goals, objectives, responsibilities and policies of the program, the Policies and Procedures document provides a number of useful template letters.


The attached guide includes the following revisions and clarifications:…

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Register Now For 2017 AGM and Conference

CSSEA is pleased to announce that registration for the 2017 AGM and Conference, Strength in Diversity, is now open. The three-day event will be taking place October 24-26 at the newly renovated Delta Grand Okanagan Resort in beautiful Kelowna.

With guidance from the AGM Planning Committee, we put together a dynamic program that involves a mix of traditional workshops and high-level plenary sessions. Among this year’s highlights:

  • Internationally Recognized Keynote Speaker: Whether starring in a reality television series on the re-building of Vancouver’s iconic Save on Meats or sharing his insights as a Fellow at Stanford University’s d.school, Mark Brand exudes passion. As a successful entrepreneur, advocate of Vancouver’s downtown eastside and fearless innovator, Mark will deliver what is sure to be an inspiring address on how to live and serve with passion.
  • Embracing Diversity: This year’s theme pays tribute to diversity and we planned a range of workshops that encourage employers to look at the topic through multi-faceted lenses. In keeping with the theme, we will be holding a powerful experiential workshop on reconciliation.
  • Bundled Pricing: New full conference and full day rates allow us to offer preferential pricing when compared to traditional a la carte pricing.
  • More Learning and Networking Opportunities: The program has been tweaked to accommodate more professional development opportunities for front line staff. While Executive Directors are attending the AGM, for example, new managers and other staff can attend practical, skills-focused workshops. We also incorporated more opportunities for you to network with colleagues, new and old. Certain meals and coffee breaks have been extended so delegates can catch up, de-brief and socialise.
  • Election of 2019 Bargaining Committee: With collective bargaining commencing in late 2018, we will be selecting the committee to represent your needs and concerns at this year’s AGM on October 24.…

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2016 Social Services Sector HR Metrics Report Now Available

As part of CSSEA’s ongoing commitment to provide members with value-added services, we are pleased to present the 2016 Social Services Sector HR Metrics Report. The report and one page highlights are available for download from the Social Services Workforce Information System (WFIS) on CSSEA’s website.

This report was made possible by data collected through the Compensation and Employee Turnover Survey. As always, we thank you for your participation in the survey, which allows us to continue producing reports that offer valuable sectoral insights.

If you have not yet completed the 2017 Compensation and Employee Turnover Survey, please do so by May 31, 2017.

Any questions about this report, survey completion, or access to WFIS can be directed to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .…

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Communications Contact

Doris Sun
Manager of Communications
604.601.3110
604.319.5010
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.