Update on Child Protection Social Workers

As you are aware, an announcement was made earlier this week regarding the implementation of the new classifications of Child Protection Social Worker 1 & 2 and Child Protection Social Worker Supervisor. The new classifications were implemented to address the high level of responsibility, accountability and decision making associated with the increasingly complex cases involving child protection. Additionally, there exists a significant issue with respect to the retention of social workers in Child Protection. Our hope is that this classification change will help to encourage experienced social workers to stay in Child Protection in order to build and maintain capacity within the team to effectively deliver the very important services associated with Child Protection.

The classification changes are as follows:

Current Classification Current Rate New Classification New Rate
Social Worker 1 (A) – PR 9 $2,653.85 Child Protection SW 1 – PR 13 $3,107.16
Social Worker 1 (B) – PR 12 $2,982.67 Child Protection SW 1 – PR 13 $3,107.16
Social Worker 2 – PR 15 $3,364.90 Child Protection SW 2 – PR 16 $3,507.08
Social Worker 3 (Restricted) – PR 17 $3,649.33 Child Protection SW Supervisor – PR 18 $3,800.42

Rates are at top of scale on a bi-weekly (70 hour) basis, as of March 31, 2024.

Pursuant to the new job description, social workers wishing to EOI or compete for vacancies will have to obtain their representation status by December 31, 2024. This status will allow all CPSWs to act on behalf of the Minister in order to take children into care. Most of this training is completed via online modules with one portion related to investigations involving allegations of abuse being jointly conducted with police, which is anticipated to occur in the fall.

Additionally, the employer and union have agreed to a wage adjustment which will be applied to the new rates. Recruitment of new Social Workers into Child Protection has been a substantial challenge over the past number of years. We believe this adjustment will not only help with retention, but it will also assist with recruitment efforts to efficiently and effectively fill vacancies, which is desperately needed. This wage adjustment will add additional increases as follows:

Classification Rate Wage Adjustment New Rate
Child Protection SW 1 – PR 13 $3,107.16 4% $3,231.45
Child Protection SW 2 – PR 16 $3,507.08 6% $3,717.50
Child Protection SW Supervisor – PR 18 $3,800.42 4% $3,952.44

Rates are at top of scale on a bi-weekly (70 hour) basis.

Click here to see Memorandum of Agreement.

All wage increases are subject to any additional negotiated increases through the collective bargaining process and are retroactive to April 1, 2024.

The union and employer have agreed to waive the 12-month requirement in Article 13.02 (c), and the “same classification” requirement in 13.02, for a one-time EOI opportunity for otherwise eligible Social Worker 1-2s at DCS to EOI into the new Child Protection Social Worker positions, and otherwise eligible Social Worker 3s at DCS to EOI into the new Child Protection Social Worker Supervisor positions. This agreement will apply to employees holding a Social Worker 1-2 or Social Worker 3 position as of June 11, 2024. This EOI opportunity will be made available to employees until June 28, 2024.

Further, the union and employer have agreed that, for the period of April 1, 2024 (retroactive) to December 31, 2024, employees in the Social Worker 1-2 classification who cover Regional After-Hours shifts will be entitled to acting pay even if they have not met the threshold of three or more consecutive work days as required by Article 38.10(a).

We understand that these changes will not on their own fix all of the issues that exists in Child Protection but we are optimistic that they will make a positive and tangible difference, specifically in the areas of recruitment and retention. We are committed to continued collaboration with the Nova Scotia College of Social Workers, the Department of Community Services, and you, our members to develop solutions to improve the working conditions facing those working in Child Protection.

The employer has provided an email address at sdfoundations@novascotia.ca to gather and answer your questions. As always, please feel free to reach out to your Employee Relations Officer through the NSGEU Resource Centre at inquiry@nsgeu.ca with any questions that you have for the union.

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