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Aboriginal social workers in the Fraser Valley join BCGEU

Aboriginal social workers in the Fraser Valley join BCGEU

Staff at Fraser Valley Aboriginal Children and Family Services Society (FVACFSS), formerly known as Xyolhemeylh, voted in favour of joining BC Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU).

“Workers at FVACFSS joined BCGEU to better advocate for the children and families in their care,” says BCGEU president, Stephanie Smith.

Workload is a major concern at FVACFSS - with caseloads that are sometimes double what provincial guidelines recommend for the sector.

“Improving workload through collective bargaining will allow these workers to better support their communities and ensure that no one slips through the cracks,” says Smith.

“It’s vital that all social workers across the province have the ability to properly advocate for the children and families under their care.”

Approximately 130 staff across six worksites at FVACFSS have joined BCGEU. They are social workers and administrative staff who perform a variety of tasks related to the intake and guardianship of aboriginal children and families in care in the Fraser Valley.

BCGEU also applied to represent the team leaders at FVACFSS, but the employer successfully objected to their inclusion in the union.

BCGEU represents over 2000 social workers in the Ministry of Children and Family Development and at several other delegated aboriginal agencies like the Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society and Métis Family Services.

The union also launched a high profile awareness campaign on issues facing BC social workers in 2014, and issues in Aboriginal child welfare in 2015. The campaign,, attracted widespread media attention and public interest and resulted in the ministry hiring more than 330 additional child protection workers.

For more information, contact Erin Sikora at 604-473-5476.