Every year, The Federation makes an official submission and presentation to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services. This committee holds province-wide consultations on the upcoming provincial budget and this year The Federation made very clear what our priorities and recommendations were.
Our submission and presentation highlighted both the strength and vulnerability of BC’s community social services sector and our priorities for the next provincial budget were summarized by the three following recommendations.
- Investments in a Strong and Sustainable Social Services Sector
- Investments in Structural Reconciliation-Informed Change
- Mental Health Focused Investments
An excerpt is below but you can read the full text of The Federation’s submission here. The Select Standing Committee will release its report with recommendations by November 15.
“Given how essential our sector is to the health, safety, and wellbeing of the children, families, adults, and seniors of BC, this government should fund as many community social service sector positions as it does government positions and at equivalent rates. Administration costs should be covered in all contracts. Downstream dollars should be matched with upstream prevention and early intervention investments. After decades of cuts and underfunding, our programs require an across-the-board 5% increase in funding to their core operating costs, sector-wide—it can be done and it would have a profound impact.
Our staff, like other front-line workers, have been called heroes over the past year and a half. And yes, they have absolutely done extraordinary things in challenging circumstances. But simply calling them heroes is a symbolic reward where a structural one is needed—it’s a rhetorical sleight of hand that justifies their risks and sacrifices while preventing others from having to internalize how much they benefit from those sacrifices.
So rather than simply calling them heroes, consider that many community social service workers may not have had a choice but to show up for work in person throughout the pandemic. Think of what the past 18 months would have been like without mental health counsellors, daycares, family resource programs, employment services, or food banks. And then ensure the next BC budget includes the kind of investment we should have received years ago. Because it’s time our staff and organizations are fairly compensated for the vital and challenging work that they do 24 hours a day 7 days a week.”