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CEO Update - January 2020

Upcoming Collective Agreement Updates

In addition to a comprehensive CSSEA Info that discussed 2020 Collective Agreements monetary increases, a few additional increases will take effect soon. As a result of leftover funds that required agreement before being allocated, coverage for hearing aids will increase effective February 1, 2020 to $1,500 every 48 months for adults and every 12 months for children, with reimbursement at 100%. Also, physiotherapist coverage will increase to $700 effective April 1, 2020. In the Indigenous Services Collective Agreement, Delegated Program Assistants (Resources, Guardianship and Child Protection) will move from a Grid 7 to Grid 9 in the Delegated Programs wage grid.

Union Voluntary Recognition

We expect to receive PSEC’s response to the funding question for union voluntary recognition later this month. Until then, the union bargaining association agreed not to undertake organizing activity at CSSEA member agencies with a non-union employee component. Once we know the government’s position on the funding question we will be in contact with the 76 impacted agencies.

Distribution of 2019-22 Collective Agreements Books

CSSEA has recently received hard copies of the Indigenous Services, Community Living Services and General Services Collective Agreements and is currently preparing to mail them to agencies. Please note we only have sufficient numbers for management staff, as the union is responsible for distributing the books to their members. CSSEA members should expect to receive their copies before the end of January. If you have any questions or require extra copies, please contact Vangie Johnson at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .…

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CEO Update - November/December 2019

Member Satisfaction Survey

We thank all members who took the time to provide feedback on CSSEA’s service through the Member Satisfaction Survey. We have shared the results at our recent Board and Panel meetings and have discussed ways CSSEA can continue to improve. Because the survey was completely anonymous, we would like to invite those who wish to have a more fulsome discussion of their comments to contact Doris Sun, Director of Communications, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . A copy of the survey results can be found here.

Voluntary Recognition Update

Since CSSEA’s last update on the unions’ plans to launch a unionization campaign at the CSSEA agencies with a non-union employee component, we have worked with government and PSEC to determine whether it is feasible to entertain voluntary union recognition if there is new money available for the impacted agencies to fulfill the monetary obligations of levelling up to the collective agreements. PSEC has indicated that government is considering the additional funds but likely will not make a decision until early 2020. We have met with the unions and requested an extension of the current Memorandum of Understanding, including a moratorium on union organization at CSSEA agencies until Jan 31, 2020, by which time we should know government’s decision. The unions agreed to the extension, which provides members with certainty over the holiday period and into the New Year, assuring there will be no disruption to service delivery.

Upcoming Collective Agreement Updates

Employers are reminded that a number of collective agreement provisions are to be implemented on April 1, 2020. These include updates to mileage rates, a 2% general wage increase, as well as the distribution of a second of three Low Wage Redress (LWR). CSSEA and CSSBA have agreed on the allocation of the $20 million in LWR, and provide full details in this recent CSSEA Info. A copy of the April 1, 2020 wage grid can also be found online. In addition, CSSEA hosted a very well attended funders meeting in Victoria to ensure the various ministries and funding agencies are aware of all the collective agreement funding commitments for 2020/21, as well as the cost pressures the social services sector will face in the upcoming year. A copy of the presentation and a list of invitees can be found here.…

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CEO Update - October 2019

2019 AGM and Conference 

On behalf of CSSEA’s staff, I would like to extend my thanks to all who attended this year’s AGM and Conference and helped us celebrate our 25th year anniversary. All available workshop presentations have now been posted on the conference website. I would once again like to congratulate this year’s Telus Awards of Excellence recipients: Alicia Erenli, Rising Star; Lora Church, Hero; Jessica Denholm, Leader; and Patricia Woroch, Legend, as well as those who were nominated. You are encouraged to view the video vignettes of each award recipient on our Awards of Excellence website to learn more about each winner’s achievements. For attendees who have not yet filled out a conference e-evaluation, you are invited to do so at your earliest convenience. We will be hosting you in Vancouver once again for the 2020 AGM and Conference, from October 13-15, at the Marriott Pinnacle Hotel.

2019-2020 Board and Panels Elections

Your Board and Panel members were selected at CSSEA’s Annual General Meeting on October 8 in Vancouver. We are pleased to announce your divisional representatives: (Note: members elected this year are in bold and Board representatives are marked with a*)

Community Living Services
Tammy Khanna (Chair), Independent Living Housing Society of Greater Victoria
Janice Barr*, Richmond Society for Community Living
Fernando Coelho*, posAbilities Association of British Columbia
Dawn Hein (Vice Chair) *, Mission Association for Community Living
Tanya Sather, Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion
Anita Sihota, Delta Community Living Society
Ellen Tarshis, Victoria Association for Community Living dba Community Living Victoria
Julie Unger, Chilliwack Society for Community Living…

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CEO Update - July/August 2019

Special Meeting for Non-Union Employers

A special meeting was recently held in which 76 CSSEA employers who have a non-union employee component doing union type work (totalling 2,766 employees) were invited. The purpose of the meeting was for CSSEA to inform those members of the BCGEU’s stated intention to organize a unionization drive at their agencies. While not part of CSSEA’s mandate, several Associates and non-CSSEA employers also learned of the meeting and attended for informational purposes.

At the meeting, I along with representatives from the Board, discussed the possible implications of the unionization effort on service delivery, business models and funding. CSSEA is now preparing a response to the BCGEU and plans to hold a meeting with PSEC and the BCGEU to ask for further clarity on the issues that are important for the membership, including NPF programs. Funding will be paramount in all future discussions and CSSEA will work with government and continue to keep impacted agencies updated on developments. Those wishing to view a copy of the presentation can do so by logging in on our website and going to Resources/Members Home/Bargaining.

Staffing Announcement

After serving as a CSSEA Consultant for 14 years, Anne Campbell has retired effective July 26. Anne has been an integral member of the HRLR team and has served agencies — primarily in the Okanagan region — with diligence, professionalism and competence. We thank Anne for her years of service and wish her every happiness as she embarks on her travels and other interests.…

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CEO Update - June 2019

Sectoral Activity

The last month has seen a lot of activity in the sector on topics mostly related to funding, some which are not in CSSEA’s mandate but still of interest as they impact the membership. In these types of situations, CSSEA can be of most assistance by providing aggregate sectoral data and analysis to PSEC and government ministries, as well as our Board and Panels, to help the decision makers come to well-informed decisions on matters that affect the sector and can impact service delivery.

We have also spent significant time resolving funding issues that inevitably occur with every new collective agreement but more so this year where the implementation of Low Wage Redress, particularly for programs with paraprofessionals, presents challenges for some funders. In addition to issues around funding the collective agreement, we also informed government of the challenges agencies face to the viability of many programs that fall outside CSSEA’s mandate but nevertheless present a risk to the sustainability of service delivery.

2019 AGM and Conference

Registration is now open for CSSEA’s 2019 AGM and Conference, Imagining the Next 25 — in celebration of our 25th year anniversary. We are pleased to offer a solid lineup of future-focused sessions that will examine various ways the sector can position itself for longevity in the face of change. Our keynote speaker — a nationally-renowned Millennial Engagement Expert — will share her knowledge on how to reach and empower young people entering the profession. I encourage you to register early, as both hotel rooms at our discounted group rate and spaces in sessions are limited. To further incentivize early registration, we have introduced new early bird rates that will take effect until August 30.…

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CEO Update - May 2019

Occupational Health and Safety Council

CSSEA is pleased to report that the inaugural meeting of its newly created CSS Occupational Health and Safety Council (OH&S Council) will be taking place on June 6. The council consists of 15 representatives from employers (union and non-union), unions and WorkSafeBC, and will be chaired by Fernando Coelho, CEO of posAbilities. The first goals of the Council will be to secure ongoing annual funding from WorkSafeBC and to set its priorities for the next two years. I thank all organizations that sent us letters of support for both the pilot project and more recently, the official establishment of the OH&S Council for the sector. For members who haven’t yet sent their letters of support — especially those with employees in Counselling Social Services Classification Unit (766007) — we encourage you to do so, as your formal support will be impactful in the start-up of the Council. Letters of Support can be emailed to Denise Subotin, WorkSafeBC’s Manager of Industry and Labour Services at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . If you have other OH&S Council-related questions, please contact Satvinder Basran at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

LRB Appeal

CSSEA will be appealing two recent Labour Relations Board rulings that permit more than one union to represent unionized employees at a single employer. The LRB ruled in both an initial certification hearing, and on appeal by CSSEA, that an additional union could organize unrepresented employees at an agency even where an incumbent union already represents other employees. CSSEA did not oppose the unionization of additional unrepresented employees at an agency; it opposed the certification of additional unions that result in an employer having to deal with more than one union for different groups of employees under the same collective agreement, which can be administratively challenging and negatively impact service delivery.

In a similar bargaining structure in the health sector, the LRB recently issued a series of cases that prohibit additional unions from being certified in these circumstances, on the basis that it is assumed this would lead to an increase in industrial instability. However, in the social services sector, the LRB is not applying these recent cases and still allows for the proliferation of unions at a single employer.…

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CEO Update - April 2019

Awards of Excellence Nomination Deadline

If you know an outstanding individual working in BC’s publicly-funded community social services sector, this is the final week to recognize him/her by submitting a nomination for the 2019 BC Community Social Services Awards of Excellence. The fifth annual awards, sponsored by TELUS, honours four distinct individuals in the sector. Anyone can submit a nomination and nominations are being accepted until this Thursday, April 18, at 5pm. 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. or by telephone at 604.601.3110 or toll free 1.800.377.3340 ext. 110.

Special Board Meeting on Low Wage Redress

On April 8, CSSEA’s Board held a special meeting to discuss the government decision not to fund, at this time, the Low Wage Redress (LWR) for approximately 1,400 non-union FTEs employed at 54 CSSEA agencies. Christina Zacharuk, President and CEO of PSEC, was a guest at the Special Board Meeting and discussions centered on the timeliness of the announcement, the decision, lessons learned and the process for moving forward. This issue continues to be an agenda item for the Board and Joint Panel meetings in May. 

Save the Date: HR Practitioners’ Meeting 

The next HR Practitioners’ Meeting is scheduled to take place May 24 at CSSEA’s office in downtown Vancouver. Topics for discussion, as well as a registration link, are currently being developed and will be e-mailed to members as soon as they are available.…

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CEO Update - March 2019

Sectoral Funding Challenges

The last round of bargaining was the most successful in CSSEA’s history but implementation, particularly how this year’s $20 million in Low Wage Redress (LWR) would flow to agencies, has come with challenges. The problem is further compounded by the fact many agencies have multiple funders and each funder has their own funding model and/or template. Early in 2019, CSSEA worked with funders to ensure the distribution of LWR would be accurate and timely but funding systems have many limitations.

Many of you have received a letter from MCFD, dated March 12, outlining the ministry’s funding process, which is based on an average (blended) LWR percentage number for your agency. However, if you have employees covered by the paraprofessional pay grid, the LWR blended number will likely be insufficient to cover all of the LWR wage increases due April 1, 2019. We understand that MCFD is aware of the issue and that members will need to “demonstrate” how their costs will increase on April 1, 2019 compared with costs in 2018 for delivering the same or similar services based on the new classification grids. This will provide funders with the opportunity to address those funding discrepancies, and while not a simple process, it is currently the only option available with MCFD.


CSSEA has just been made aware by government that it will only fund the General Wage Increase (GWI) for non-union employees (doing union-like work) but at the current time, they will not fund the Low Wage Redress (LWR) portion that their union colleagues are scheduled to receive April 1. This is a departure in funding practices since 2014 and came as an unexpected surprise to CSSEA and your Bargaining Committee. We will keep the members informed of any government changes on this important issue for the sector.…

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CEO Update - February 2019

Awards of Excellence

CSSEA will be hosting its 5th annual Community Social Services Awards of Excellence in partnership with TELUS on October 9, 2019. Now is the time to start thinking about nominating a deserving colleague, as the nomination process will open in early March. For full details on the nomination criteria, please go to CSSEA’s Awards of Excellence webpage or contact Doris Sun, Director of Communications at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . 

Early Childhood Educator Wage Enhancements

The provincial government announced last September that front-line Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) working in eligible licensed child care facilities would be eligible to receive a $1 per hour wage enhancement beginning in early 2019 and retroactive to September 1, 2018. Another $1 per hour is scheduled for April 1, 2020. Since the announcement, CSSEA has been working with government and union stakeholders to define eligible employees and determine a process to allocate funds. CSSEA recently provided information on Early Childhood Educator (ECE) wage enhancements funding, as well as a template that can be used by employers and unions to assist with the implementation. Both CSSEA and the CSSBA have agreed to provide the same consistent direction to their respective employers and union representatives on this process and full details can be found in this CSSEA Info

Employers Interpretation Manual Updated

With the 2019-2022 Collective Agreements mostly in effect, CSSEA has revised the relevant Employers Interpretation Guides on the website. To access the guides by article, log in on CSSEA’s website and go to Members Home/Bargaining/2019-2022 Employers’ Guide.…

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CEO Update - January 2019

Funders Meeting

Last month, CSSEA hosted a Funders Meeting to address various upcoming employer cost increases. The meeting was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, Ministry of Child and Family Development, Community Living BC, Public Sector Employers’ Council, BC Housing, Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Ministry of Health, as well as Health Authorities. It focused on 2019-20 Collective Agreement cost increases, including health and statutory benefits increases, cost pressures, allocation of low wage redress funds and initiatives to control costs. A copy of the presentation can be found here.

February 1 and April 1 Wage Increases

CSSEA released updated wage grids that incorporate the recently announced Economic Stability Dividend (ESD) and general wage increase for Community Living Services, General Services and Indigenous Services divisions. New wage grids for Indigenous Services Delegated Programs are also available. The new wage grids incorporate a 0.75% ESD increase, as well as a 1.0% general wage increase, both of which come into effect on February 1, 2019. An additional 2.0% wage increase, as well as the first $20 million allocation of the Low Wage Redress, will come into effect April 1, 2019 and those wage grids are also available online.

2019 Updates, Consultation and Survey Orientation Sessions

CSSEA’s Research and Knowledge Management team will once again be holding sessions around the province this spring to discuss various important topics, including: bargaining updates (the April 1, 2019 monetary changes will be discussed); consultation on the $20 million Year 2 Low Wage Redress distribution; 2019 CSSEA reports highlights; and 2019 Compensation and Employee Turnover orientation. Members are encouraged to save the date and bring their questions to one of the sessions below. A registration link will be distributed as soon as it is available.…

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CEO Update - November 2018

Economic Stability Dividend

Statistics Canada recently announced that BC’s economy grew by 3.8% in 2017, exceeding the province’s growth forecast of 2.3% and therefore triggering the Economic Stability Dividend (ESD). The ESD formed part of the 2014-2019 collective agreements, and allows for general wage increases when the provincial Gross Domestic Product (GDP) exceeds projections. The final ESD wage increase, effective February 1, 2019, will be 0.75%. CSSEA will distribute new wage grids once they are finalized. 


PSEC Excluded Compensation Guidelines

The PSEC Secretariat recently released a reference guide on compensation for management and excluded staff working at employers’ associations. The guide includes a new reporting and approval process for certain management wage increases, as well as a Q&A section for commonly asked questions.  Please note that excluded staff compensation increases currently remain unfunded. A copy of BC Public Sector Employers’ Guide to Accountable Compensation can be obtained by contacting PSEC. 

Employer Health Tax

CSSEA recently provided details on the upcoming Employer Health Tax (EHT), including calculation and remittance regulations for both regular employers and charity/non-profit employers. In addition, CSSEA provided feedback to government on the impact of the tax on our sector. As the EHT is coming into effect on January 1, 2019, employers are asked to inform their payroll administrators and to make the necessary plans to accommodate implementation.…

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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.