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Employers Required to Implement Communicable Disease Guidelines

WorkSafeBC recently advised that employers are now required to implement workplace communicable disease guidelines and are no longer required to have COVID-19-specific safety plans.

For details on the requirements of this change, please see this WorkSafeBC Communicable Disease Prevention link. The link highlights basic risk reduction principles regarding workplace transmission of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases. In times that the risk of COVID-19 transmission is elevated, such as seasonally, employers will be advised by medical health officers or the Provincial Health Officer on the measures they need to take to manage the risk.

Employers may also wish to use WorkSafeBC’s Communicable disease prevention: A guide for employers for information on how to develop an effective communicable disease plan. In addition, members can access the Community Social Services Health & Safety Association of BC’s Community Social Services Communicable Disease Prevention – Overview Template (under the COVID-19 Resource tab) for a sample template.…

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Final Call for Awards of Excellence Nominations

There are now just three days remaining to complete your Community Social Services Awards of Excellence nominations.

The Awards of Excellence, sponsored by TELUS, celebrates four individuals working in various stages of their careers in the publicly-funded community social services sector. The awards will be presented in person for the first time since 2019, on October 26, 2022 at the Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Downtown Vancouver Hotel. You can find details on awards categories, as well as the online nomination form, on our awards website.

CSSEA will be accepting nominations until this Friday, April 22 at 5pm. Nominators are welcome to continue editing or revising nominations online until the due date, after which they will automatically be considered final. In addition, members are encouraged to re-submit nominations for individuals not chosen to receive an award in previous years.…

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April 13, 2022 - Additional Details on New Sick Pay Minimum Requirements

Further to this CSSEA Info issued on March 31, Bill 19 has received Royal Assent and is now law. Bill 19 amended the minimum sick leave provisions under the Employment Standards Act and replaces some previous advice dispensed by CSSEA, including parts of this January CSSEA Info.

As previously mentioned in the March CSSEA Info, Bill 19 removed the sick leave sections from Section 3 of the Act, which had allowed for collective agreements to avoid the application of the minimum sick leave standards, as long as the collective agreement provisions on sick leave, when taken together, “meet or exceed” the Act minimums. In CSSEA’s view, the collective agreements met this test and the minimums did not apply to unionized employees covered by the sectoral agreements. As of March 31, Bill 19 deleted reference to the sick leave sections in Section 3:

Scope of this Act

3 (1) Subject to this section, this Act applies to all employees other than those excluded by regulation.…

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March 31, 2022 - Government Announces Further Amendments to ESA Sick Leave Minimums

The BC government announced on March 28, 2022 that it has introduced additional amendments to the Employment Standards Act (ESA) concerning paid sick leave. The latest amendments follow government’s initial announcement in November 2021 that it would be introducing five annual employer-paid sick days effective January 1, 2022. Details of that announcement were documented in this CSSEA Info, and follow-up information regarding application can be found in this FAQs.

The latest amendments are being introduced through Bill 19 and contain three notable changes that, upon receiving Royal Assent, will replace some advice currently dispensed by CSSEA:

  1. ESA paid sick leave is removed from the “meet or exceeds” table in section 3 of the ESAmeaning it will be applicable to unionized employers regardless of their collective agreement provisions. In other words, the minimum five days of paid sick leave will be extended to casual employees and probationary employees covered by collective agreements who, until now, would have been excluded from ESA sick leave minimums in whole or in part.
  2. ESA paid sick leave is removed as an exception from section 3(6), meaning union employees will have to launch a grievance/arbitration in case of potential disputes, as opposed to using the Employment Standards Branch complaint process.
  3. “Employment year” is now replaced by “calendar year” for the purposes of calculating an employee’s entitlement to sick days, thus simplifying the need for employers to track each individual’s employment anniversary date to calculate their paid sick days entitlement. Please note that it is possible some employees may already have received more than five days of paid sick leave this year due to the current employment year calculation, and in those scenarios, there is currently no mechanism to seek repayment.…

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BC to Observe National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in 2022

In August 2021, we issued a CSSEA Info that communicated with employers the BC Government’s observance of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation by recognizing September 30th as a holiday for all employees who are normally entitled to provincial and federal holidays. The holiday would be interim while the province began a consultation process with residential school survivors and Indigenous partners, as well as the labour and private sector business communities, on how BC can observe September 30 in that year and beyond.

As the consultation and engagement process is still ongoing, and based on collective agreement provisions granting federal statutory holidays concerning the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, provincial public sector employers should plan for September 30 to once again be observed as a holiday this year (2022) on a without prejudice basis for all employees who are normally entitled to provincial and federal statutory holidays. More information can be found in this Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation update; employers are encouraged to share this update with their employees.

CSSEA is working with the Public Sector Employers’ Council Secretariat on how to address this matter in bargaining. If you have any further questions, please contact your HRLR Consultant or Advocate.

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2022 Community Social Services Awards of Excellence to be Presented in Person!

CSSEA is excited to announce that it plans to once again present the 2022 Community Social Services Awards of Excellence in person, after a two year pause in large gatherings. While we appreciate that the public health situation may change, CSSEA is buoyed by current Provincial Health Officer guidelines that allow for indoor gatherings at 100% capacity, and will hold the event as long as it remains safe to do so. Nominations for the awards are now being accepted until 5pm on April 22 and CSSEA encourages all members and associates to consider nominating an outstanding individual working in BC's publicly funded community social services sector.

CSSEA is particularly thankful for the continued, generous support of event sponsor TELUS, who has maintained incredible support of the event throughout the pandemic.

Four Award Categories

The Awards of Excellence celebrate four individuals who provide vital services to some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.…

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February 11, 2022 - CSSEA and CSSBA Commence Sectoral Bargaining

On February 2, 2022, CSSEA commenced bargaining with the Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) to amend the sector’s three collective agreements, which are set to expire on March 31, 2022. Negotiations are being held in Burnaby in a hybrid format, with CSSEA Bargaining Team members participating both virtually and in person, in order to facilitate safe distancing.

The first two weeks of discussions, while constructive and collaborative, consisted mostly of developing housekeeping frameworks. The parties exchanged opening statements and agreed to a bargaining protocol, as well as the adoption of an interest-based bargaining approach. Both CSSEA and the CSSBA tabled housekeeping proposals and ended this week with a number of agreements on housekeeping-related language.

Working Within Government’s Shared Recovery Mandate

Over the past year, CSSEA has consulted with members to obtain their key bargaining objectives and service delivery priorities in order to inform the creation of its 2022 Bargaining Plan. Led by a Bargaining Team that includes members from all three membership divisions, CSSEA will be working to achieve sustainable and collaborative agreements that incorporate sectoral objectives with the provincial government’s Shared Recovery Mandate. The mandate supports the provincial government’s three key priorities for public sector negotiations:…

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January 18, 2022 - FAQs on New Sick Leave Standards

Update: Some details contained here have now been replaced by Bill 19, which amended minimum sick leave provisions under the Employment Standards Act. For the latest information, consult these CSSEA Infos from March 31, 2022 and April 13, 2022.

On November 29, 2021, a CSSEA Info was issued to announce government’s introduction of five annual paid sick days starting on January 1, 2022. Since then, CSSEA staff have fielded a number of questions on the interpretation and application of this new minimum benefit under the Employment Standards Act. The most common questions, and their answers, follow.

Q: In the CSSEA Info, it stated that “…As unionized employees under the sectoral collective agreements already have access to sick leave benefits in excess of this new minimum standard, it is CSSEA’s view that the collective agreement provisions will continue to apply to the unionized employees, and no part of the new minimum standards would apply to them.” Our non-union employees are covered by a policy that mirrors the CSSEA collective agreements. So would our policy also apply in full to our non-union employees?

A: No. The Employment Standards Act provisions apply to all employees, except unionized employees covered by a collective agreement that has provisions relating to sick leave (and some other topics) that, “when considered together, meet or exceed the requirements, when considered together, of the…” new sick leave provisions under the Act (ref. Section 3(2)). So, while CSSEA believes the sick leave provisions in the agreements remain unaffected, the minimum standards now apply to non-union employees as they are not covered by a collective agreement. The “meet or exceed” test does not apply to them.

Q: Does that mean that the portion of our policy that pays sick days at 80% pay to our non-union employees does not apply?

A: Correct. As non-union employees are covered by the new sick leave sections of the Act, they are entitled to those minimum standards. That means they are entitled to the first five days of sick pay per year based on an “average day’s pay” instead of at 80% pay. (See the formula in Section 49.1 of the Act.) Sick days available in excess of five days per year would continue to be paid at the rate (eg. 80%) established under your policy. In other words, non-union employees would not be entitled to an additional five sick days per year; rather, their first five days of sick leave per year would be paid out as an “average day’s pay.” (See example of calculation below)…

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January 12, 2022 - Latest PHO Order Requires Employers to Re-Activate COVID-19 Safety Plans

On January 7, 2022, the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) announced an order requiring employers to re-activate their COVID-19 Safety Plans. This replaces the previous requirement for employers to have communicable disease prevention plans in their workplaces.

While communicable disease prevention plans and COVID-19 Safety Plans share some of the same fundamental principles, COVID-19 Safety Plans are formal written plans that address specific details such as occupancy limits, physical distancing, and barrier in workplaces.

Re-Activating your COVID-19 Safety Plan

Many employers had COVID-19 Safety Plans earlier in the pandemic, and may have maintained those plans. All employers are advised to review their COVID-19 Safety Plans to ensure that they are current and aligned with all guidance and orders from the PHO.…

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December 9, 2021 - Mandatory Vaccination Policies

This CSSEA Info follows up on the ones issued November 23, 2021 and October 22, 2021 outlining the expansion of the mandatory vaccination PHO Order to CLBC and health authority contracted service providers, respectively.

This CSSEA Info will address employer policies and related documents that:

  1. Flow from the two expanded PHO Orders covering CLBC and health authority contracted service providers (and possibly additional employees covered by the PHO Order where it is not operationally feasible from an occupational health and safety (OHS) perspective to separate the additional employees from application of the Order);
  2. Are implemented where there is no PHO Order in effect, and where employers, in their particular circumstances, find it appropriate to implement a mandatory vaccination policy.…

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December 1, 2021 - New Web-Based Training Program Now Live!

CSSEA is excited to announce the official launch of our new online learning hub, which will provide community social services workers with valuable and cost-effective training on labour relations and leadership. This innovative and comprehensive training, developed in collaboration with The EQ Development Group, includes online courses, monthly live webinars and managed discussion forums that have been designed to complement the workloads of individuals employed in the sector. Courses range from one to three hours and consist of five to 15 minute video lessons. They are designed to be flexible, self-directed and completed at each learner’s own pace. There are currently 15 courses on offer – six on labour relations, three on emotional intelligence and six on leadership. New courses are in development and will be added in 2022.

The learning hub includes the option to participate in a cohort-based curriculum, meaning registrants join a cohort of other students in a 12-month guided learning process that will include assigned learnings and a monthly group coaching call. This model will keep learners engaged with the content and allow for interaction with fellow cohorts through features like the discussion forums. The labour relations courses, however, are not cohort-based so individuals can access and complete those sessions independently. Students will always be able to access all courses through their dashboard.

Pricing Options

The learning hub works on a subscription model and those who register will have access to all course offerings and additional learning features. The cost is $225 per three-month quarter per registrant and that rate is discounted to $200 if an agency registers five or more leaders. An additional 10% discount is currently being offered for annual registrations.…

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Communications Contact

Doris Sun
Director of Communications
604.601.3110
604.319.5010
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