I read the editorial “School districts stuck with fallout from Victoria” (Record, Oct. 15) with interest since the situation mirrors what social services have been dealing with since May 2013.
At that time, Community Social Services Employer Association (CSSEA), an entity founded and funded by the government to represent the sector, negotiated wage lifts totalling three per cent over two years.
Since then, the government has refused to reimburse the cost of the wage increases, putting many social service agencies in jeopardy.
This is only one of the additional costs negotiated by a government agent with no accountability to the sector. Government agents negotiated the implementation of Municipal Pension Plan (MPP) in 2010, and subsequently the government has refused to reimburse costs above the first-year enrolment costs. Agencies are contending with ever-increasing shortfalls due to additional enrolments each year.
The social service sector is an essential part of the social fabric of our province and our country. Statistics support that the provision of social services can lower the cost of health, education and justice through prevention and intervention.
It is always interesting to me that during election campaigns, the person in the street inevitably identifies health or education as the most pressing issues on their mind.
We need to start recognizing that the burden on our health and education systems stems in large part from the neglect of our social service sector.
Our current government has systematically deconstructed the social service sector over the past decade, resulting in the shameful statistic that B.C. had the highest rate of child poverty in Canada for seven years running. We were No. 2 last year but we have reclaimed the No. 1 spot again this year.
Poverty is going up, not down.
Please support the social service sector in your community. We provide great returns on the investment.