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Announcing 2023 Community Social Services Awards of Excellence Recipients

It is with much pride and excitement that CSSEA announces this year’s Community Social Services Awards of Excellence recipients. Now in their eighth year, this awards initiative continues to recognize individuals at various stages of their careers who have made outstanding contributions to the social services sector. CSSEA thanks TELUS for its tremendous support in sponsoring these awards since the program’s inception in 2015.
On behalf of a member panel who reviewed and shortlisted all nominations, as well as an external judging committee who evaluated and ultimately selected the four winners, we congratulate the following recipients:

Rising Star

Nicole McGowan
Life Skills Worker, Community Integration Services Society Community Living Services

Passion, dedication and perspective. These are three star qualities that colleagues use when describing Nicole McGowan. As a student who was placed at Community Integration Services Society (CISS) on a three-month practicum, Nicole arrived ready to learn and eager to make a difference on day one. She was tasked with finding volunteer opportunities for several individuals and approached the assignment with gusto, reaching out to dozens of organizations to canvass opportunities. Ultimately, Nicole’s persistence paid off, as she made a valuable connection with the City of Coquitlam and secured volunteer positions for several individuals. More importantly, Nicole’s efforts opened a door with a significant new partner that may result in future partnerships and opportunities for CISS. Nicole excelled so impressively that she was offered, and accepted, continued employment following the end of her practicum. As she finishes her program at Douglas College in the fall, her colleagues have no doubt she will continue to shine.


Hugo Velazquez
Senior Manager of Community Outreach and Advocacy, MOSAIC Associate

To call Hugo Velazquez a champion for migrant workers in BC would be an understatement. As Senior Manager of Community Outreach and Advocacy at MOSAIC and formerly, head of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program for the Consulate General of Mexico in Vancouver, Hugo has been a warrior for migrant workers who come to BC for seasonal agricultural work. As an immigrant himself who experienced challenges finding suitable employment, Hugo was keenly aware of the barriers that many newcomers face. Hugo turned his personal challenges into action, dedicating his career to ensuring workers who come to this country are properly supported and aware of their rights. Using his diplomatic and legal background, Hugo forged relationships with both the federal and provincial governments, non-profit organizations, Consular Alliance for the Protection of Migrant Workers, WorkSafeBC, and many others. His work involved over 350 data collection visits to farms and ultimately, resulted in $4 million in funding distributed through MOSAIC to 26 provincial agencies over 18 months. While Hugo’s passion and unrelenting dedication to human rights resulted in tangible improvements, his biggest contribution to date has been instilling awareness and understanding that migrant workers’ rights is not a far-off international issue; it’s also a local issue and one deserving of attention from all Canadians.…

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Get Featured in CSSEA's 2023 Annual Report: Last Call for Photos

As CSSEA prepares to produce its 2023 Annual Report, we invite Members and Associates to submit photos from their agencies to be considered for inclusion. We welcome member photos of staff events, community events in which your agency had a presence, individuals served, or any other image that highlights the work your organization is doing in your community. We ask that anyone featured in your submitted photos consent to their image being published in print and on our website prior to your submission. The deadline for submission is 5:00 pm this Friday, July 21 and photos can be e-mailed to Doris Sun, Director of Communications, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .…

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Registration for 2023 AGM and Conference Now Open!

CSSEA is excited to invite members and associates to register now for the 2023 AGM and Conference, taking place October 25-27 at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Grand Okanagan Resort in Kelowna. This year’s event, Future: Bright, pays homage to our sunny host city and also acknowledges that, despite much uncertainty over the past few years, the sector has a lot to look forward to.

With guidance from the AGM Member Planning Committee, Future: Bright will continue to offer various levels of human resources and labour relations workshops including those that will cover corrective discipline, adaptability, navigating conflict conversations, diverse hiring best practices, and many more. This year’s keynote speaker, Fred Sarkari, is an internationally recognized psychotherapist and human behaviour expert whose expertise covers how people think and how managers can leverage that knowledge to build engaged and successful teams.

Notification of Annual General Meeting

CSSEA will be holding its Annual General Meeting on October 25, following Divisional Sessions that will take place earlier that same afternoon. Members who are attending the AGM are also required to register for their respective Divisional Session; we remind all registrants that only member owners, Executive Directors or CEOs may vote at the AGM. Those who are interested in reviewing minutes from the 2022 AGM, who wish to put their name forward to join a Divisional Panel, or who want to submit a resolution, are asked to consult the 2023 AGM page for full details.…

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Lump Sum Payment for Eligible Child Care Employees

The 2022-2025 CSSEA Collective Agreements include a provision of $2/hour to be paid to child care classifications as set out in the Early Childhood Educator (ECE) Wage Enhancement Funding Guidelines for each hour paid by the employer from September 21, 2021 to March 31, 2022.

This payment will be coming from a lump sum of $400,000 provided by government and to be administered by CSSEA on its behalf. This lump sum payment will be paid to eligible employees in either provincially funded or non-provincially funded (NPF) programs, who:

  1. are governed by the JJEP,
  2. were otherwise eligible for the ECE Wage Enhancement of $2 per hour payable to eligible Childcare Workers starting September 2021, and
  3. did not receive the payments.…

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Partial Sick Leave Days Under the Employment Standards Act

A recent arbitration award issued in the private sector provides CSSEA members with guidance on how to interpret the Employment Standards Act (ES Act) sick leave sections. Specifically, the issue that was decided by the arbitrator was whether an “average day’s pay” ought to be paid to an employee who fell ill for only a part of their shift, in addition to the amount paid for the time already worked in the partial shift.

The union claimed that the full “average day’s pay” was owing to the employee, in addition to time worked for the day, bolstered by an interpretation guide issued by the Employment Standards Branch. CSSEA members have also been relying on this guide. In the circumstance of this case, the grievor attended work for the first six hours of his 12 hour shift before going home sick. The employer paid six hours of regular pay for the time worked, plus six hours for the remainder of the day so that the employee suffered no loss of pay due to falling ill. However, the union claimed an additional six hours of sick pay based on the interpretation guide and that an “average day’s pay” was payable under the ES Act. The employee would have been paid 18 hours of pay in total for the day, when missing a portion of his 12 hour shift.

The Arbitrator commented on the purpose of the new ES Act sick leave provisions:…

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Last Call for Awards of Excellence Nominations!

Nominations for 2023 Community Social Services Awards of Excellence are due in two days, at 5pm on May 12. Members and Associates who plan, or have started, to draft nominations are asked to finalize their submissions as soon as possible. The awards, generously sponsored by TELUS, are an incredible way to showcase the amazing work being done in our sector. This year’s winners will be celebrated at a special luncheon on October 26 in Kelowna as part of CSSEA’s 2023 AGM and Conference.

To learn more about the submission process, please refer to this CSSEA Info. The online nomination form can be found here. If you have any questions, please contact Doris Sun at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .…

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CSSBA File Wage-Related Policy Grievance

The Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) filed a sector-wide policy grievance on May 2, 2023 claiming that a number of Employers have not yet implemented the 2023 wage rates that were effective the first full pay period in April, as set out under the recently concluded collective agreements. The policy grievance further claims that Employers have not paid retroactive wage increases back to April 2022. The grievance seeks as a remedy the payment of the 2023 wage rates in the first pay period following April 1, 2023 and retroactive wage rates “within a reasonable time” following ratification, plus interest.

We understand that a number of Employers have not yet seen adjustments to funding and that key funding ministries have committed to adjust funding within four months of ratification (see Funding Letter). CSSEA will be discussing the policy grievance with the CSSBA and will reinforce the timelines found in the Funding Letter and further convey that many Employers would find it challenging, if not impossible, to pay the significant increases agreed to in bargaining without adequate new funding support. Employers who are in a position to implement the wage increases should do so as soon as possible, but if unable, be prepared to explain the reason why.

We will provide further updates on the policy grievance in the coming months. In the meantime, if you have questions, please contact your Advocate/Consultant.

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Under Two Weeks Remaining to Submit to Awards of Excellence Nominations

Members and Associates are reminded that Community Social Services Awards of Excellence nominations are due by 5pm on May 12. If you are looking to nominate a deserving individual or have started to draft a nomination, now is the time to complete your submissions. The awards, sponsored by TELUS, are a wonderful way to acknowledge the exceptional individuals working in community social services. This year’s winners will be celebrated at a special luncheon on October 26 in Kelowna as part of CSSEA’s 2023 AGM and Conference.

To learn more about the submission process, please refer to this CSSEA Info. The online nomination form can be found here. If you have any questions, please contact Doris Sun at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .…

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Flow of Government Funding for Management and Excluded Wages and Other Increases

Following the conclusion of 2022 collective bargaining, the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction issued a letter to CSSEA employers dated February 6th that committed to providing the same funding increases for management compensation as union and non-union employees. Government has indicated that this will be implemented as a base 17.04% funding lift for compensation over the three-year mandate. In addition, government will make available up to $35.77 million in targeted funding for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, increased vehicle mileage reimbursement rates, and wage comparability adjustments for paraprofessionals in the Social Services Sector.

Government’s funding commitment is based on total compensation for provincially funded services, as reported by members through CSSEA’s 2022 Compensation and Employee Turnover Report. To ensure each agency receives appropriate funding increases across different provincial funding programs and sources, the funders have requested access to agency-level reported compensation data, something CSSEA has not provided in the past. Government has indicated that access to agency-level data is necessary for funders to provide funding for paraprofessional wage comparability and management increases.

To assist government in providing accurate and timely funding and to simplify the reporting, CSSEA is providing the option for agencies to voluntarily provide a written authorization (similar to what agencies that receive funding from the Ministry of Health already do) for CSSEA to share their agency-level data with their provincial funders. To do this, members are asked to fill out this Authorization Form, which will provide us with the necessary permission to release your agency’s total compensation cost, FTE and employee count by classification, reported funding, and costing for funding increases for each of your respective provincial government funders.…

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Nominations for 2023 Community Social Services Awards of Excellence Now Open

CSSEA is welcoming nominations for our Community Social Services Awards of Excellence, sponsored by TELUS. Now in their eighth year, the awards honour four exceptional individuals working in community social services who excel in their roles at delivering vital services to vulnerable individuals in BC. Anyone can submit a nomination and both CSSEA Members and Associates are eligible to be nominated.

Four Award Categories

There are four awards categories that honour individuals working at different stages of their careers:

  • Rising Star: An individual with less than five years of experience who demonstrates early success.
  • Leader: An individual with more than five years of formal leadership experience who leads and mentors a team to achieve a common goal.
  • Hero: Someone who goes the extra mile to make a difference, not necessarily in a formal leadership role.
  • Legend: An ED or CEO with at least 15 years of experience who has made extraordinary contributions to the community and the sector.…

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New Wage Grids Now Available

April 1, 2022 General Wage Increase (GWI) and Low Wage Redress (LWR) and April 1, 2023 General Wage Increase (GWI) and Cost-of Living Adjustment (COLA)

Since announcing on March 29 that Employers of the community social services sector have ratified each of the sector’s three collective agreements, CSSEA and the Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) have agreed on the distribution of Low Wage Redress (LWR) and finalized the April 1, 2023 preliminary wage grids, which are effective the first full pay period following April 1.

Employers are asked to refer to this joint bulletin to obtain details on the wage increases, including April 1, 2022 wage grids that should be paid retroactively as soon as members are able or receive the necessary funding. The bulletin also includes April 1, 2023 preliminary wage grids, which are subject to further adjustments and may include retroactive increases once the Health Sector Wage Comparability increases are finalized. The parties have also signed a Memorandum of Agreement regarding distribution of LWR and the April 1, 2023 preliminary wage grids. The Indigenous Services Delegated Services wage grids can be found here.

If you have any questions, please contact your HRLR Consultant or Advocate.

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Communications Contact

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