Millions of Canadians depend on community social services to live independently, to participate fully in the community, or for their safety. Whether it is seniors, people with disabilities, women fleeing violence or many others, community social services make an enormous difference in people"s lives.
But more and more, those who rely on community social services and their families have been forced to use expensive private services. In too many cases, people are not getting the help they desperately need.
And what about the people who provide these valuable public services?
They"re the people trying to prevent the person you saw sleeping on a bench from freezing to death in the winter. They"re enabling your neighbour with a developmental disability to have a job and be part of the community. Your grandmother is still living in her home because of the support they provide.
Many community social services workers have seen their workloads rise, while wages have failed to keep pace with inflation. These caregivers are having to make choices between providing for their families or caring for the most vulnerable in our society.
At the NUPGE 2013 Convention, our members adopted a policy paper looking at how cuts to funding for community social services have left people struggling. We committed to continuing our work for increased funding for these services and creating more awareness of how much we depend on community social service workers.
Our refreshed Community Social Services website is a reflection of this commitment.
NUPGE will be continuing to recognize November 6 as CSS Appreciation Day and will be encouraging others to do the same. You will be able to find more information about how your community can recognize the work CSS workers do.
Over the next year, we will be building a video project with CSS workers telling stories about the difference they make in people"s lives and the challenges they face. We"ll also be gathering stories from people who rely on the services.
If you have a story to tell, we want to hear from you! You can email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to our CSS Worker Facebook page
On cssworkers.ca, you will also find a new online survey. Use this as a way to share your perspective on what is happening in the CSS sector. Whether a worker or a service user, we want your input.
We know how vital these services and these workers are to our communities. Unfortunately, governments and policy makers often forget this.
With your help, we can change this.
National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE)