Recognizing the challenges community social service workers face

community-based social services component

Since 2008, the MGEU and the National Union of Public General Employees have recognized November 6 as Community Social Service Workers Appreciation Day. Over 125 communities across Canada recognize November 6 as a day to show our appreciation for the compassionate work community social service workers do.

This year, as we continue to honour the contribution community social services workers make to society, it is a good time to reflect on the challenges they face in caring for the most vulnerable in our communities.

Survey results show violence in the workplace and workload among the highest concerns for community social service workers

NUPGE surveyed community social service workers across the country to find out what the biggest issues are facing them in their positions. The survey results revealed…

  • 65 per cent of community social services workers who responded have experienced workplace violence
  • 60 per cent of community social services workers have experienced an injury in the workplace

Responses to two other questions made it clear workload is also an issue:

  • Almost two-thirds of those responding have seen their caseloads increase.
  • 18 per cent were expected to do volunteer work for their employer.

Shocking as these numbers are, they are not new. A 2007 NUPGE publication Health and Safety in Community-based Social Service reported that 74 per cent of workers in B.C. had been victims of one type of violence in the previous year or had seen a colleague attacked. Researchers also found that cuts to funding for community social services resulted in major increases in workloads.

"Community social service workers are being asked to sacrifice their health and safety to try to make up for cuts to federal and provincial funding,” said NUPGE National President James Clancy. “Workers who care for the most vulnerable people in our community deserve much, much better."

Whether it's supporting adults, youth and children with disabilities or providing a refuge for women fleeing violence, community social service workers make a huge difference in people's lives. Community Social Service Worker Appreciation Day is a chance to say thank you for the contribution those workers make to our community.

Visit the Community Social Services website.