07/08/2015 11:56 EDT | Updated 07/08/2016 05:59 EDT

Union and ministry group offers unique plan to resolve lack of BC social workers

KAMLOOPS, B.C. - The B.C. Government and Service Employees Union and Ministry of Children and Family Development believe they have identified a novel way to battle a critical shortage of social workers in the province.

The final report from a joint union and ministry working group recommends development of a provincial mobile response team.

Union vice-president of social information, Doug Kinna says the team would travel to remote communities on the central coast, northern Vancouver Island or anywhere there is a shortage of highly trained social workers.

He says members of the team could stay in the community to assist with all cases until the region is able to recruit its own staff.

Although the working group's union and government members agree the mobile team is a good idea, they disagree on the number of new social workers needed, with the union seeking 300 over three years and the ministry proposing 200 over two years.

The joint working group was formed as a recommendation from Children and Youth Representative Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, and is attempting to address some of the staffing, reporting, recruiting and other issues affecting the Ministry of Children and Family Development. (CHNL)