Fair Compensation for Community Justice Caseworkers (Halifax)

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We, the Caseworkers at the Community Justice Society (CJS) in Halifax, proud CUPE Local 4764 members, are responsible for the delivery of the youth and adult Nova Scotia Restorative Justice Program in the HRM. We are extremely passionate about the work that we do, but have been without a contract since April 2016. We are not being treated fairly.

What is the Issue?

The compensation structure at Community Justice Society is fundamentally unjust. 

Since 1999 the NS Department of Justice has contracted CJS to deliver restorative justice services.  CJS is a non-profit and independent agency. This means that we are not civil servants, and so do not receive the same compensation. CJS receives a funding formula for compensation from the Department of Justice that  determines our pay and benefits.

For the services we provide and the skills and expertise required to do our work, we are woefully underpaid. CJS Caseworkers make an annual salary is $37,690.  That is not the first step on a salary scale, that’s the only step.  New hires make the same as 12 year employees. Comparatively, the average salary for probation officers in Nova Scotiais $65,652.  Despite doing virtually the same work, we make 56% of their salary. Our hourly rate after deductions is $14.40.

What’s more, with the roll out of the adult restorative justice program in November 2016, our agency experienced a 149% increase in files- all without additional staff or funding!

How can this injustice be solved?

CUPE Local 4764 commissioned an expert comparative compensation review. The conclusions were straight forward and stark:

The compensation structure at the CJS is broken and needs to be fixed.

The report concludes that caseworkers at CJS should be compensated at 90% of probation officers in Nova Scotia. We have proposed an increase to 90% of the pay of probation officers at the bargaining table to address the unfairness of our wages. We should get equal pay for equal work.

The Department of Justice must change the funding formula for Restorative Justice Caseworkers to mirror the pay structure of probation officers.

It’s time to support restorative justice caseworkers.

Nova Scotia is the only province in Canada to offer restorative justice to everyone ages 12 and up. CJS Caseworkers are very proud of the meaningful work we do for our communities. We do this work because we believe in it. We shouldn’t live below the poverty line to do this work: we should be compensated fairly.

The members of CUPE Local 4764 are united in our demand for fair compensation.  We want to continue to deliver this important program with wages that will sustain us. We hope you will support us in our fight. Feel free to email cjscaseworkers@gmail.com to join our mailing list, to offer to help, or to touch base about any questions or concerns you have. Our compensation review and other documents are available publicly and we are happy to send those your way!

By signing this petition, you are supporting the caseworkers of Community Justice Society in our fight for fair wages, and we thank you so much for this!

 



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