Care workers paid poverty level wages
Community service workers care for some of the most vulnerable members of our society: children in crisis, people with physical and intellectual disabilities, women fleeing violent relationships, new immigrants and Aboriginal youth.
But though the work they do is vital to the well-being of our families and communities, these workers have been, and continue to be, undervalued and underpaid.
Wage equity: Time to make it happen!
The campaign continues
SGEU, along with sister unions CUPE and SEIU, has been actively working for fair wages and benefits for community workers for decades.
Under increasing pressure from unions to recognize the value of community-based workers, governments have started to gradually increase wages for some employees in this sector. However, even those who have received wage increases in recent years are still more likely to earn less and have fewer benefits than people who do comparable work within government.
Many CBO workers - especially those who work in group homes and care for people with physical and intellectual disabilities - are still paid poverty-level wages.
It's just wrong
A community-based worker employed at HELP Homes, a group home for people with intellectual and physical disabilities, earns just $12.94 an hour, while a group home operator earns $11.44 an hour.
At Regina's Victoria Homes, a group home operator-care worker makes $10.62 an hour.
In contrast, staff at Moose Jaw's Valley View Centre, a government-run facility for people with disabilities, are more appropriately compensated for the valuable work they do. They earn substantially more for doing essentially the same work as community-based group home staff. A group activity aide at Valley View earns $21.59 an hour. That's a wage gap of more than $8.00 an hour!
The chronic undervaluing of community services is not just apparent in the low wages paid to staff. Many community services buildings are crumbling, endangering employees and clients. It's time to respect the people who live and work in these homes and offices. It's time to fund building maintenance and ensure a safe environment for all.
It's time to stop exploiting workers who care for people in a community-based setting.
Time to act
Government needs to take action to ensure fair wages, adequate benefits and decent working conditions for community-based workers. Our province's economy is robust and government has the resources to commit to fair wages and benefits. Now is the time to redress a longstanding injustice.