Calgary

Alberta social workers protest heavy caseloads

Dozens of social workers marched in six Alberta cities over the lunch-hour Tuesday to draw attention to their concerns about heavy workloads.

Dozens of social workers marched in six Alberta cities over the lunch-hour Tuesday to draw attention to their concerns about heavy workloads.

They wanted the public to know they're working on more cases than they can handle, leading many to burn out or quit.

"My workload is over 100 per cent over what it should be, so obviously some corners have been cut and you aren't getting the quality of service Albertans deserve," adoption case worker Donna Smith said while marching in front of the McDougall Centre in Calgary.

The union claims workloads have increased because of a staff shortage blamed on low wages.

"It a very competitive job environment out there right now, and we're having a tough time getting people," union leader Brad Tomlinson said.

The workers, who are part of the Alberta Union of Public Employees, signed their current contract last month. It includes wage increases over the next three years.

The province said it has recently increased staff in some departments and hopes giving front-line workers more time on cases will help reduce the overall workload.

Protests were held in Edmonton, Calgary, Barrhead, Red Deer, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat.

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