CUPE members in the social services sector provide a range of services and supports to vulnerable and often marginalized people. CUPE members working in the sector do a wide variety of work, such as assisting women and children fleeing domestic violence, working with adults with developmental disabilities, protecting
children from harm and neglect, providing employment counselling, administering social assistance, staffing shelters and providing education about HIV and AIDS. They work for a range of employers from small non-profit community agencies to large social assistance programs and municipalities. CUPE works with the people we serve, their families and the organizations that support them, to improve services and increase funding.

Approximately 85 per cent of workers in the social services sector are women. An increasing amount of work is being pushed to temporary, contract, casual, or part-time positions. CUPE is the second-largest union in the social services sector, representing approximately 27 per cent of all unionized social services workers. The largest union in the sector is the National Union of Public and General Employees, representing about 34 per cent of unionized workers.

By the numbers:

  • Number of members in the sector: 50,200
  • Number of social services bargaining units: 524

In addition, we have members in larger locals that overlap with several other sectors including municipalities, school boards and health sectors. For example, workers in Ontario who provide social assistance are employed by municipalities.