Sector Overview

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Sector Overview

Social services in British Columbia are delivered primarily by not-for-profit agencies under service agreements with several provincial ministries and authorities, the largest funder being Community Living British Columbia. Hundreds of these agencies operate in union and/or non-union environments; however, since March 2003, non-union agencies are not eligible for membership in CSSEA.



  • The 2018-9 total compensation costs of Community Social Services sector is estimated at $825 million.
  • There are 13,533 full-time equivalent positions in the sector in 2018-9.
  • There are 21,594 regular employees in the Community Social Services sector in 2018-9.

Types of services

A majority of people in BC have, at one time or another, come into contact with community social services providers. The services delivered through contracts with agencies vary widely, and include support and care programs for a wide variety of vulnerable clients, such as:

  • People with physical, mental and developmental disabilities
  • At-risk youth
  • Women experiencing family violence
  • Families and children with special needs
  • New Canadians, refugees and non-English speaking residents
  • Aboriginal individuals and communities
  • Children who witness abuse

These people and their families are supported through various activities and programs, for example:

  • Home-based services for children and adults with special needs
  • Crisis intervention programs
  • Transition houses/residential care facilities
  • Parenting life skills
  • Counselling and life skills drop-in programs
  • Emotional behaviour therapy
  • Alternative to custody programs
  • Counselling for sexually-abused children and their families
  • Respite care homes for the developmentally disabled
  • Job readiness and community integration services
  • Literacy and language skills programs
  • Residential and day support programs for developmentally disabled
  • Life skills training for adults/children with developmental disabilities in their own homes


Types of jobs

There are hundreds of distinct jobs within the social services sector, most of which involve direct client care. Following is a brief list of job titles found within each of the three main service areas within CSSEA's membership base.

Community Living Services

  • Child Care Resource and Referral Worker
  • Clinical Counsellor
  • Community Support Worker
  • Family Counsellor
  • Family Support Worker
  • Residence Nurse
  • Residence Worker
  • Residential Child and Youth Worker
  • Retail Worker
  • Speech Language Pathologist
  • Vocational Worker/Counsellor

General Services

  • Activity Worker
  • Addictions Counsellor
  • Adult Youth and Child Worker/Counsellor
  • Children Who Witness Abuse Counsellor
  • Clinical Counsellor
  • Crisis Line Coordinator
  • Early Childhood Educator
  • Employment Counsellor
  • Family Counsellor
  • Infant Development Consultant
  • Nutritionist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Reconnect Worker
  • School Aged Support Worker
  • Stopping the Violence Against Women Counsellor
  • Transition House Worker

Aboriginal services

  • Family Counsellor
  • Family Support Worker
  • Residence Worker

CSSEA's Role in the Social Services Sector

The Community Social Services Employers' Association (CSSEA) was established through legislation in 1994 to serve four key functions in the social services sector:

  1. Act as a bargaining agent for members designated under the Labour Relations Code or Section 11 of the Public Sector Employers Act;
  2. Assist the Public Sector Employers' Council (PSEC) in meeting the objectives and strategic directions established by the Council;
  3. Coordinate compensation services for employees not subject to collective agreements, benefits administration, and human resource practices; and
  4. Foster consultation between CSSEA and representatives of employees in the community social services sector.

The Contracted Social Services Sector

Community Living BC currently provides contract revenue for a majority of CSSEA members. Members receive contract revenue from the following:

Crown Corporations/Health Authorities

  • Community Living BC
  • BC Housing
  • BC Transit
  • Columbia Basin Trust
  • Fraser Health Authority
  • Interior Health Authority
  • Northern Health Authority
  • Vancouver Coastal Health Authority
  • Vancouver Island Health Authority
  • Provincial Health Services Authority


BC Provincial Ministries

  • Advanced Education, Skills and Training
  • Agriculture
  • Children and Family Development
  • Citizens' Services
  • Education
  • Finance
  • Health
  • Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
  • Jobs, Trade, and Technology
  • Health and Addictions
  • Municipal Affairs and Housing
  • Public Safety and Solicitor General
  • Social Development and Poverty Reduction
  • Tourism, Arts and Culture
  • Transportation and Infrastructure



  • Federal Government
  • Other Provincial and Territorial Government(s)
  • Municipal Government(s)
  • First Nations Health Authority
  • BC Gaming Grant

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