New Brunswick

The struggle against wage discrimination goes back over a century in New Brunswick.

1899  Robert Emmerson, Premier of NB, pointed out that a woman received little more than half the wages a man received for the same work and that this was discrimination.

1965  The government passed a law stipulating the same minimum wage for men and women.

1971  The provincial government passed the Human Rights Act, of whicharticle 3(1) stipulated that: “no employer shall discriminate against any person in respect to employment or any term or condition of employment because of sex.”

1980  The NB Advisory Council on the Status of Women (ACSW) analyzed certain public jobs in NB. At the time, untrained male nurses earned $26 to $27 per evaluation point and Liquor Commission clerks $22, while registered nurses earned between $8 and $15.

1987  Premier Richard Hatfield promised a law on pay equity for the public and private sectors.

1989  Frank McKenna’s government passed the Pay Equity Act, which only covered employees in Part I of the civil service (i.e. civil servants).

1991  The NB Federation of Labour presented its brief Pay Equity Legislation in New Brunswick to the provincial government and recommended applying the Pay Equity Act to the public and private sectors.

1991 - The New Brunswick Government publishes the report Pay Equity Summary of Activities of the Pay Equity Steering Committee

1996  The NB Advisory Council on the Status of Women (ACSW) published the working document The Wage Gap: Causes, Consequences, Actions.

1998  The Fédération des dames d’Acadie founded the Women’s Union for Pay Equity, le 23 mai 1998.

2000  The New Brunswick World March of Women 2000 committee and the Women’s Union for Pay Equity asked the government for a law on pay equity.

2001  The Women's Union for Pay Equity is replaced by the Coalition for Pay Equity, founded June 16, 2001.

2002  Margaret Ann Blaney, then minister responsible for the Status of Women, set up a Wage Gap Roundtable.

2003  The minister’s Wage Gap Roundtable released its report, which recommended voluntary measures for five years, followed by an evaluation and, if progress was limited, the implementation of “appropriate wage gap reduction legislative mechanisms, applicable to both the private and public sectors of the New Brunswick economy.”

The Coalition for Pay Equity and the NB Federation of Labour put forward independent recommendations asking the government to adopt a law on pay equity and to develop a strong education campaign as soon as possible.

2004  The Coalition for Pay Equity drafted Pay Equity Legislation.

June 2004  Elizabeth Weir, leader of the New Democratic Party, introduced the bill proposed by the Coalition for Pay Equity (bill 77) at the Legislative Assembly. Carmel Robichaud, Liberal MLA, seconded the introduction of the bill. The bill was sent to the Law Amendment Committee.

November 2004  The Law Amendment Committee held public hearings and received written submissions on Bill 77. Out of 34 public presentations, 30 were in favor of Bill 77 as is or with minor modifications.

June 2005  Margaret Ann Blaney released her Wage Gap Action Plan, in response to the Round Table’s recommendations, on June 2, 2005. The five-year action plan outlines four goals, which includes increasing “the use of pay equity practices” in the private sector and achieving “pay equity in the public service,” without legislation. 

December 2005  The Law Amendment Committee released its report on Bill 77. It recommends NOT adopting the Bill but supports the voluntary Action Plan on the Wage Gap. However it recommends legislating in five years if no progress is made.

2006  In their election platform, Charter for Change, Shawn Graham’s Liberals promise to extend pay equity legislation to all of the public sector and to “bring together all stakeholders to further address issues raised at recent public hearings with the goal of extending pay equity to the private sector through legislation”. They are elected on September 18.

2007  The government released its first progress report on the 5-year Wage Gap Action Plan for New Brunswick. No data is yet released on the placement of pay equity programs in the private sector.

2008  The government released its second progress report on the 5-year New Brunswick Wage Gap Action Plan.

2009  Mary Schryer, Minister responsible for the Status of Women, introduced the Pay Equity Act, 2009. The Act covers the civil service, health, education and Crown corporations. It was assented to June 19, 2009 and will come into force in April 2010. The regulation under the Pay Equity Act, 2009 will enter into effect at the same time, that is the 1st April, 2010.

The provincial government announced that five groups from the private sector will receive pay equity adjustments beginning in 2010-2011: nursing home workers, child-care workers, home support workers,  transition home workers, and community residence workers. 

The nursing home jobs are evaluated during an internal equity exercise as negociated in their collective bargaining agreement. 

The government releases its third  progress report on the 5-year New Brunswick Wage Gap Action Plan but never publishes a final report.

April 2010  The Pay Equity Act, 2009 and Regulations comes into force.

March 2012  Elected on September 27, 2010, the Progressive Conservative government announces in its 2012-2013 budget that 6.4 million dollars will be allocated to pay equity and that additional amounts of 6.4 million dollars will be added yearly for a total of 5 years. The Coalition for Pay Equity expresses concerns that this would be too little to reach pay equity in a press release titles "No Pay Equity Yet". 

June 2012  The pay equity reports for home care, child care and transition house workers are finally made public. The New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity questions the results, which are very low, ranging from $12 to $14 per hour.

January 2013  The Coalition for Pay Equity releases its "Comment on the Results of the Government of New Brunswick’s Pay Equity Program for Non-Legislated Sectors" and asks the government to improve the methodology it developed in the context of workplaces where there are no predominantly male jobs.

April 2014  The Government of New Brunswick makes public the pay equity results for community residence workers. These results are higher than in the other sectors (child care, transition house, home support), ranging from $14 to $16 per hour, thanks to a change in the methodology. However, they are still far from the level of fair wages due to other methodological errors highlighted by the Coalition.

June 2014  Ruth Rose, adjunct professor of economics, Université du Québec à Montréal, writes the report Pay Equity in Care Services in New Brunswick and a summary. The report looks at the New Brunswick pay equity process used by the provincial government to evaluate 4 care-giving sectors. She concludes that the methodology used by the New Brunswick government is incorrect. 

September 2014  Brian Gallant's Liberals win the election. According to their election platform, they will improve the pay equity methodology, require pay equity plans from organizations with more than 50 employees doing business with the government, and fully implement the Pay Equity Act, 2009.

Summer 2016  The provincial liberal government announces pay equity adjustments for educational support staff and court stenographers, but it lags behind on its electoral pay equity promises. 

Summer 2017 The provincial liberal goveernment annonces pay equity adjustments for three groups represented by the New Brunswick Union: professional support workers in schools, specialized health care professionals and medical science professionals.

February 2019 The final report of the Advisory Committee on Living Wage and Pay Equity from the Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation (ESIC) was released and calls for the adoption of comprehensive pay equity legislation modeled on the Acts of Ontario and Quebec that paplies to the public and private sectors, as well as the recommendations of the 2004 federal pay equity task force.

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