Questions are arising over the viability of some community programs.
The Community Social Services Bargaining Association, which represents nine unions, says services for vulnerable families may be cut because the provincial government’s didn’t provide bridge funding for a 1.5 per cent wage increase that was negotiated for frontline workers earlier this year.
“This is unacceptable. There shouldn’t be any further cuts to programs or services due to a lack of bridge funding,” said Patsy Harmston, CSSBA chairperson.
“We negotiated the 1.5 per cent wage increase in good faith and found savings in our collective agreement to pay for it. We upheld our side of the deal. The government should do the same.”
Among the agencies that could be impacted are the John Howard Society, the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club and the North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Society.
Harmston says the Ministry of Children and Family Development has failed to provide bridge funding to cover the payroll increase until the cost savings can be achieved in two to three years but the Ministry for Social Development has provided funding for groups it supports.
“Why are some programs being treated differently than others? This discrepancy amounts to program cuts by stealth and bad faith bargaining,” she said.