Login Form

PHO Responds to Questions From Social Services on Mandatory Vaccines

The Office of the Provincial Health Officer has responded to questions posed at a recent social services roundtable meeting on mandatory vaccinations for those working in the sector. At this time, the PHO will not be mandating vaccinations for social services.

The communique also provides information on the government’s recently-implemented vaccine card, which will now be required to enter some events, services and businesses. You can access the full communication here.

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

Read more

Announcing 2021 Community Social Services Awards of Excellence Recipients

CSSEA is excited to announce this year’s Community Social Services Awards of Excellence recipients, after a one year pause. The awards, now in their sixth year, honour the work of individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the social services sector. On behalf of a member panel who reviewed and shortlisted all nominations, as well as an external judging panel who evaluated and ultimately narrowed shortlisted nominations to a single winner in each category, we congratulate the following recipients:

Rising Star: Alexandra Bissley

Quality Assurance and Communications Manager, Inclusion Powell River Society, Community Living Services

Occasionally, someone comes to an organization and makes such a lasting impression that an employer will bend over backwards to retain them. Such was the case with Alexandra, who was initially hired at Inclusion Powell River Society on a temporary job creation project. Alexandra immediately impressed her peers and supervisors with her inquisitiveness, passion and drive, leading to her permanent hire as their Quality Assurance and Communications Manager. Alexandra dove right in to her new role, taking on responsibilities that would be overwhelming for most. She led the CARF Accreditation Process, which required her to become expertly knowledgeable on 2,000 standards. Alexandra has also been instrumental in coordinating the agency’s soon-to-open Affordable Housing Project, which involves extensive liaising with community members, senior management and partners like BC Housing. Through her graceful tackling of these large-scale projects, Alexandra has shown her ability to work with others and manage complex work. Much of what Alexandra does is behind-the-scenes, and in fact, shines a spotlight on the work done by the agency as a whole. This was all the more reason she has proven to be deserving of special recognition of her own.

Hero: Florence Kao

Program Coordinator, Self Employment and Entrepreneur Program, DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society, General Services

Having left her role as Senior Human Resources Manager at a global private sector company in Taiwan to immigrate to Canada, Florence found herself in an unfamiliar city starting from scratch. Her sheer determination, professional skills and desire to assist individuals in similar circumstances would eventually lead to DIVERSEcity, where she started as a Labour Market Settlement Worker and assisted immigrants and refugees in providing resources, orientation and guidance. It was at DIVERSEcity that Florence would find her perfect fit, as she would eventually lead the agency’s Immigrant Entrepreneur Program and leverage her business acumen to help newcomers find their professional niches and launch small businesses. Part teacher and part mentor, Florence helps individuals of the program develop business plans, find partnerships and gain confidence to succeed in their entrepreneurial endeavours. She is described by colleagues as a powerhouse who is always evolving her approach to program delivery but also, a confidante and friend whose sole focus is to help individuals turn their dreams into reality.…

Read more

FAQs - National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

On August 4, 2021 we issued a CSSEA Info addressing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, to be commemorated on September 30.

As mentioned, the BC government recognizes the importance of honouring a day for Truth and Reconciliation. The government advised all provincial public sector employers that they should recognize September 30 as a holiday on an interim basis while the province begins to engage with Indigenous partners and the business and labour communities to determine the most appropriate way to commemorate this day going forward. Since the issuance of the CSSEA Info, members have posed a number of questions to CSSEA staff, and this bulletin is intended to share the answers more broadly.

Must an employer close all its programs to commemorate this day?

Where employers are able, the government has advised that the Day should be recognized, including by closing their programs on September 30 as an interim measure this year.…

Read more

Negotiation of Local Issues Agreements Under MOA #1

Under MOA#1 (Local Issues) of the Collective Agreements, an Employer wishing to renegotiate any part of its current local issues agreement must serve written notice to its union(s) by September 30, 2021.

If you are generally satisfied with the terms of your current local issues agreement, there is no requirement for you to serve notice to renegotiate. If you are not sure whether it would be beneficial to renegotiate its terms, please discuss this with your HRLR Advocate/Consultant.

If you do provide notice, CSSEA should be copied. If you do not serve notice, the union may still wish to re-open the local agreement and negotiate changes.…

Read more

Time Off For Employees to Vote September 20, 2021

A federal election will be held Monday, September 20, 2021. Pursuant to the sectoral collective agreements between CSSEA and the Community Social Services Bargaining Association and the Canada Elections Act, employees are entitled to a minimum number of hours off without loss of pay during voting hours. Polls will be open 7:30 am – 7:30 pm Mountain Time and 7:00 am – to 7:00 pm Pacific Time.

Employees Covered by Collective Agreements

According to Article 20.5 (Elections) in the collective agreements:

Any employee eligible to vote in a federal, provincial, municipal, First Nation or other Aboriginal election or a referendum shall have four consecutive clear hours during the hours in which the polls are open in which to cast their ballot.

Employers are not obligated to grant each employee four hours off work to vote where unnecessary. Rather, employers must provide sufficient time away from work to make up a four hour block of time during the period that the polls are open.

For example, if an employee in the Pacific time zone is scheduled to work from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm, the employee could:

  • Start work at 11:00 am, thus having the four consecutive hours from 7:00 am to 11:00 am in which to vote; or
  • Finish work at 3:00 pm, thus having the four consecutive hours from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm in which to vote.…

Read more

Employer Vaccination Status Collection Policy Template

On  August 23, 2021, we issued a CSSEA Info on a Provincial Health Officer (PHO) Order detailing a requirement for mandatory vaccination status collection in long-term care and assisted living worksites. This order will impact a small number of CSSEA members who have licensed assisted living worksites.  

While there are no immediate plans to expand the requirement for mandatory vaccination and vaccination status collection beyond “single site staffing” facilities, the PHO may extend its requirements to new services/worksites in the future as circumstances require. In the meantime, CSSEA is providing a template COVID-19 Vaccination Status Collection Policy that employers may use. The need for a template policy has intensified over the last few days with the announcement that “non-essential” venues, such as restaurants and gyms, will soon require vaccination passports for entry. Since clients attend at these venues and are supported by staff, their vaccination status may need to be understood in advance so staffing decisions can be made with as much notice as possible.

The above linked policy is subject to change given rapidly unfolding developments. When implementing the policy, please ensure that the “Note to Employers” in red font is deleted, and that the employer-specific information is included, before placing on your agency letterhead. We expect that there will be questions arising from the implementation of this policy and we will compile them for a future update. CSSEA will continue to provide additional information on developments as it becomes available.…

Read more

New PHO Direction on Mandatory Vaccination Disclosure and COVID-19 Testing, and Mandatory Vaccinations for Workers in Long-Term Care and Assisted Living

The Provincial Health Officer (PHO) and the Minister of Health announced on August 12, 2021 that a new PHO Order will be issued requiring all workers in specific health care settings (eg. Long-term care and assisted living) to report their vaccination status to public health through their worksite. On August 20, 2021, a new PHO Order was issued addressing mandatory vaccination disclosure specifically in long-term care and assisted living worksites, the same worksites currently subject to the PHO’s “single site staffing” order. There are about a dozen CSSEA member worksites (assisted living) that are covered by this August 20, 2021 Order.

Impacted employers are required to provide the PHO with confirmation of their staff vaccination status by September 1, 2021. The PHO requires staff working in long-term care and assisted living to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 12, 2021. Until October 12, all unvaccinated staff will be required to wear personal protective equipment and be tested regularly for COVID-19. A policy, found below at Appendix A, has been developed for these employers to ensure consistent provincial implementation.

While there are no immediate plans to expand the requirement for vaccination disclosure and mandatory vaccination beyond those facilities already covered by the single site orders, the PHO may extend the requirements to new services/worksites in the future as circumstances require. As CSSEA members can appreciate, we are in the midst of a rapidly evolving context for British Columbia’s COVID-19 response and CSSEA will continue to provide additional information as it becomes available.

The CSSEA member assisted living worksites are governed by the following:

  1. Effective immediately, all outside support or personal services providers who do not provide official proof of vaccination must be excluded from the facility.
  2. By September 1, 2021, employers must provide the PHO through its data entry portal with the names, birthdates, and personal health number (PHN) of all residents and staff (including those on leaves). If employers do not already have all of this information, employees must provide it. This will allow the PHO to review the vaccination status of employees and report back to the employer for the purposes of implementing this Order.
  3. Effective September 8, 2021, all unvaccinated employees of the facilities (and any other workers who attend there) are subject to preventive measures which include a requirement to wear a mask and be rapid tested every shift. Positive rapid test results will trigger a requirement to leave the facility as soon as possible and get COVID tested. Any unvaccinated employee who refuses to wear a mask or get tested must be excluded from the facility.
  4. Immediately implement the Vaccination Status Reporting and Preventive Measures Policy - Appendix A.

A copy of the August 20, 2021 PHO Order can be found here:

If you have any questions, please contact your CSSEA Consultant/Advocate.…

Read more

Expanded Whistleblower Protections Will Not Apply to Community Social Services Sector

Government has announced an expansion of the scope of the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA), which provides a legally protected way for current and former BC public sector employees to report serious or systemic issues of wrongdoing to their supervisor, a designated officer or the BC Ombudsperson. PIDA, which currently applies to staff working in government ministries and independent offices of the legislature, is set to expand in a phased approach starting April 2022; it will eventually cover tribunals, health authorities, the education sector, Crown Corporations, and the like. Government has determined, though, that the Community Social Services sector will not be included in this plan. While this does not preclude individual employers from having individual whistleblower protection policies and procedures in place at their worksites, PIDA will not be applied to our sector's employers.\

To access a copy of the government’s recent PIDA announcement, click here. If you have any further questions, please contact your HRLR Consultant/Advocate.

Read more

Registration Now Open for 2021 Virtual AGM and Conference!

Registration is now open for the 2021 AGM and Conference, Resilience Builds Strength, which is set to take place October 19-21. (AGM Divisional Sessions will once again take place one week prior to the general AGM session, on October 12.) With the ongoing uncertainty related to large in-person gatherings, we have made the decision to hold this year’s conference virtually. It is our hope that next year’s conference in Vancouver will once again be the large gathering that we have long missed and are excited to resume.

With guidance from CSSEA’s member AGM Planning Committee, we put together a diverse program that will appeal to a broad audience of community social services sector employers working at different seniority levels. The event will be hosted by Carol Ann Fried, an experienced facilitator who will incorporate a number of networking ice breakers to ensure the virtual event is engaging and dynamic. The conference will feature a focused, single stream of learning, as well as access to our sixth annual Community Social Services Awards of Excellence. Registrants will receive access to the full two-day event for a single registration fee.

Take Advantage of Early Bird Rates

Once again, CSSEA is offering an early bird rate of $79 for those who register before September 24. The regular conference fee will be $99. Full program and registration details can be found on our conference website. If you have any questions, please contact Doris Sun, Director of Communications, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .…

Read more

BC Government Recognizing National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

On June 3, 2021, the federal government announced that Bill C-5, An Act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code (National Day for Truth and Reconciliation), had received Royal Assent and that the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation will be observed by federal government employees and by federally regulated workplaces every year, starting on September 30, 2021.

The BC Government recognizes the importance of honouring a day for Truth and Reconciliation. As such, government has advised all provincial public sector employers that they should recognize September 30th, as a holiday for all employees who are normally entitled to provincial and federal holidays. It should be noted that recognizing September 30th this year is an interim measure while the Province begins to engage with Indigenous partners and the business and labour communities to determine the most appropriate way to commemorate this day going forward. This direction will ensure consistency across BC’s public sector given that there are collective agreements with provisions respecting federally recognized holidays.

Members with further questions on funding for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation are asked to contact their funders.

Read more

Education and Training Funds Available for Community Social Services Employers and Employees

CSSEA and the Community Social Services Bargaining Association of Unions (CSSBA) are pleased to announce that the Community Social Services Labour and Education Fund (LAEF) is now accepting applications for education and training funding. Details on the fund, eligibility criteria and application forms can be found on the new website: https://laef-bcgeu.nationbuilder.com/

What is the LAEF?

The Community Social Services Labour Adjustment and Education Fund is a joint initiative of CSSEA and the CSSBA. The purpose of the LAEF is to enhance the skills of frontline community social services workers by providing relevant professional development; it also prioritizes and offers additional support and retraining for workers impacted by layoffs, downsizing, or restructuring so workers can continue to be employed in the community social services sector.

Who Can Apply for Funding?

The constituent unions of the CSSBA, CSSEA, employers, individuals or groups may apply for funding. Education and training must be relevant to continuing work in the community social services sector. All applications will be reviewed by the LAEF Joint Steering Committee based on the eligibility criteria and funding amounts set out by CSSEA and the CSSBA. For a full list of eligibility criteria, please refer to the above website. Applications will be reviewed on a regular, ongoing basis until funds are exhausted.

How Much Funding is Available to Me?

The following chart illustrates the lifetime maximum amount of funding available to applicants. If an individual or group applies for and receives a lesser amount than the maximum available, they may submit additional application(s) in the future.…

Read more

Communications Contact

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