The Social Services Division was created in 2007. It represents over 20,000 members drawn from five OPSEU sectors: Sector 2 (Developmental Services), Sector 4 (Children’s Aid Societies), Sector 7 (BPS Corrections), Sector 15 (Children’s Treatment) and Sector 5 (Community Agencies). Owing to government amalgamations within the BPS, it was felt important to create and co-ordinate communication and campaigns among these five sectors.
The BPS Corrections Sector represents some 1,200 members in 23 locals. Most of our members work as frontline youth workers in open and secure youth detention facilities. However, many members work in adult correctional facilities, court houses and various community programs, where they are responsible for reintegration planning and ongoing supports, bail programs and several other roles, such as counselling, advocacy and referrals.
Sector 15 has some 3,000 members and comprises both child and youth mental health agencies and children’s treatment agencies. The sector currently consists of 33 bargaining units. It was created in the early ‘90s, when the broader public sector was expanding and OPSEU Executive Board Member Bob Reid thought it important to bring like-minded workplaces together. Both parts of our sector provide assessment and treatment to children and youth with either mental, physical, developmental and, in some cases, intellectual challenges. We are community based.
OPSEU represents approximately 3,400 members in 13 units. Children’s aid child protection workers play one of the most important roles in protecting children, intervening, and providing supports to ensure children’s needs and safety are met by their family and community. This includes kin, adoption and resource workers. They also represent administration, such as IT, finance, unit/team/legal assistants and law clerks. Child and youth workers provide access and family support to work with families in the community.
Sector 2 is made up of 12,500 members in 50 locals who work at 67 different agencies. We support people with intellectual and physical disabilities. We also help develop and implement individual support plans and goals, including personal care, living activities, employment, health care and relationships, both personal and community based. Our first locals joined OPSEU in 1978.