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CEO Update - December 2022

Bargaining Update

I would like to thank all CSSEA members for engaging in the essential services designation process. For some of you, it was a smooth process and for others, it presented you with challenges and involved negotiating your levels at the Labour Relations Board (LRB) with the assistance of its mediators. While this can be a difficult aspect of provincial bargaining, it is critical and necessary in order to prevent immediate harm to many of our individuals who cannot go without services in the event of job action.

All Orders have now been issued by the LRB to establish the levels that would apply in the event of a strike. Despite that, CSSEA and your employer bargaining committee continue to work hard to avert strike action and reach acceptable tentative agreements for your consideration and ratification. While the Indigenous Services division continues to bargain this month, General Services and Community Living Services is taking a hiatus until the week of January 23, 2023, during which the parties are scheduled to meet again. At this time, the unions have not pursued taking strike votes from their members and the tone at the table remains positive.

Management and Excluded Compensation

While CSSEA has not yet concluded collective bargaining, members may be keenly following the direction of negotiations at other tables and noticing the wage settlement pattern is far more significant than what employers have experienced in recent past rounds of bargaining. CSSEA has long championed higher wages in our sector and has aimed over the last few rounds of bargaining to achieve wage comparability with our colleagues in Health. Also while outside our mandate as an employer association, CSSEA, the Board and the Employer Bargaining Committee have also been active in relaying to government the struggles of salary compression and inversion for management and excluded staff, particularly the impact it has on organizations’ ability to deliver services. I am pleased to share that this government has acknowledged excluded management salary pressures and committed to clarifying its approach and providing a clear funding commitment for management and excluded staff for 2022-23 (and possibly beyond) following the conclusion of collective bargaining in our sector. Government recognizes that a clear and timely response will help the sector maintain stable and quality service delivery and CSSEA will keep the membership apprised of updates as they become available in the New Year.

CSSEA Representation on MPP Board

The social services sector accounts for approximately eight per cent of Municipal Pension Plan (MPP) members but until recently, we did not have a voice on the MPP board. I am pleased to announce that after much discussion with PSEC and MPP, Fernando Coelho, CEO of PosAbilities and former CSSEA Board Chair, has been appointed an Alternate Trustee for a three-year term commencing January 1, 2023. This appointment is significant because it represents the first time an employer member of the community social services sector has been represented on the MPP Board. We congratulate Fernando and thank him for bringing a voice from our sector to the table.

Physician Fee Increases for Completing Medical Forms

Employers have noted that physicians are recently charging fees that are higher than the rate contained in the current medical information form that was approved for use in the sector. That form is found here. The form currently in use notes that the physician is to charge up to $48.25 to complete the form for absent employees, under the fee guide code of A00060. Some physicians are using fee guide code A94529 which is set at $187 for 2022. The Doctors of BC has noted that physicians have discretion in applying the codes under the fee guide based on factors that they deem material. A copy of the fee guide can be found here.

The Community Social Services Early Intervention Program (CSSEIP) providers have also begun to notice billing practice changes when physicians complete the more detailed Occupational Fitness Assessment (OFA) forms used in CSSEIP. We have checked with our colleagues in the health sector, and they too have seen a recent increase in rates charged for their OFA forms used in their disability management program. CSSEA has been and will continue to work with the health sector, CSSEIP providers, and the unions to determine next steps in an effort to maintain cost containment in relation to completing the medical information forms and, by extension, in the health and welfare plans.

CSSEA’s position is the cost of completion of the OFA forms for the Early Intervention Program should be borne by CSSEIP providers and that any other form requested by the employer should be the responsibility of the agency. This change will no doubt have an upward pressure on costs for benefit providers and ultimately, the membership. We will keep you updated on any future developments.

Social Services Sector Compensation Standard (SSSCS) Project

Since sharing initial details in July about CSSEA’s role in undertaking detailed work on behalf of PSEC associated with the creation of benchmark management job profiles and a management salary band hierarchy for our sector, CSSEA has provided updates on the Non-Union Compensation Report to the Advisory Group and PSEC Secretariat. This high-level analysis of non-union (bargaining unit equivalent) compensation versus their equivalent unionized jobs was conducted based on 2021 CSSEA Compensation and Employee Turnover Report data. Preliminary estimates for closing the wage and benefit gap was presented to the SSSCS Advisory Group for feedback and discussion. PSEC Secretariat was provided with the preliminary estimate and Advisory Group feedback.

Next steps for the SSSCS Project include refreshing leveling costing data with the 2022 data set and updating costing once this round of bargaining is complete. A draft report that will include a cost estimate, various scenarios to close the wage gap, and recommendations on specific strategies and processes required to carry out the future work will also be produced for PSEC Secretariat’s consideration.

The Project has also produced several deliverables in the data gathering phase of the Management & Excluded Classification and Compensation Plan Development. This includes completion of the project charter, budget and funding, mandate, Terms of Reference, recruitment of the Project Advisory group and creation of key materials. More details on the latest scope of the project, as well as next steps, can be found here.

Community Social Services Health and Safety Association

After an extensive recruitment process carried out by the Association’s board members, I am pleased to announce that Doug Campbell will be the new Association Board Chair for a three-year term. Doug brings to this role over 30 years of management consulting and leadership experience.

A retired Advisory Services (management consulting) Partner with Ernst & Young LLP, he worked for the last 25 years in the management consulting industry, primarily in Vancouver and Victoria, but also across the country and in the United States. Doug’s previous experience in leading or advising boards and executive teams in the health, not-for-profit, private and public sectors is of great benefit to the Association. He has served on a variety of other for-profit and not-for-profit boards and currently serves as Chair of E-Comm 911 and the Chair of the Post-Secondary Employers Association. His name may also be familiar to some of you, as he served as a volunteer judge for CSSEA’s Awards of Excellence for the past five years.

HRLR Staffing Changes

Advocates Sara Grujin and Kristy Milland will be leaving CSSEA at the end of this month. We wish them the very best in their next career steps. Active recruitment for their replacements is currently underway.

Season’s Greetings

As we approach the end of 2022, I would like to extend my warm holiday wishes to you and yours. I hope you all enjoy a season of togetherness, good health and holiday cheer. See you all in New Year.

Communications Contact

Doris Sun
Director of Communications
604.601.3110
604.319.5010
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