Pay Equity Payments Delayed for Child Care and Home Support Workers

The minister responsible for the Status of Women, Margaret-Ann Blaney, stated that the government will only pay the pay equity adjustments to the child care and home care workers once the pay equity programs of group homes and transition houses will also be completed. Yet the pay equity programs for child care and home support workers have been completed for about a year.
For more information, see the transcript below of the May 11 question period discussion in its original language.
May 11, 2011 Not finalized / Non finalisé le 11 mai 2011
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 Pay Equity
Mr. Boudreau: The former Liberal government introduced the Pay Equity Act in June 2009, and it came into force on April 1, 2010. It provided pay equity for the entire public sector. Liberals also promised to expand pay equity into four key areas in the private sector: home care workers, child care workers, transition house workers, and community residence workers.
Yesterday, in estimates, the minister responsible for the Women’s Issues Branch was unable to tell the House when the government would be able to introduce pay equity for women working as child care workers and home support workers. The job evaluations have been completed in these areas. Our question for the minister is this: What were the results, and when will the government be releasing those results? These workers, primarily women, have been waiting many years for true pay equity in this province. When can they expect to get proper compensation from their government?
Hon. Mrs. Blaney: I am delighted to get a question on the status of women, because it has not been my experience that the opposition members, even when they were in government, placed any emphasis . . . Theirs was a government that demoted, not promoted, women, so their track record really does not speak well for women.
I answered this question yesterday in estimates, and I would be more than pleased to repeat the answer. The four sectors are being evaluated. Two have been completed, and two are still ongoing. Rather than doing things piecemeal, we would like to take the big picture and deal with the four sectors when all the evaluations have been completed. That is ongoing.
Mr. Boudreau: Obviously, the minister is proud to have abolished the Advisory Council on the Status of Women. The minister talks about the wage gap initiative, and we have applauded that wage gap initiative. However, a huge component of that wage gap initiative is the pay equity piece, and I would remind the minister that those two evaluations . . . They came to the government in June. We were in a provincial election in August. We had costed that into our platform, and it was our intention to move forward with it in the budget. The minister has that information.
Thousands of women are waiting to get this proper compensation. There is absolutely no justification, and there is absolutely no reason that they need to wait for the other two groups to be able to move forward with these two initial groups. There is absolutely no reason for this delay. Could the minister please move forward as planned?
Hon. Mrs. Blaney: I have heard the member opposite say this before: Woulda, coulda, shoulda. We would have done it, and we could have done it. Do you know what? You should have done it, and you did not.
When it comes to the portfolio for the status of women, we did not abolish the Advisory Council on the Status of Women. We did not abolish it. However, the previous government certainly abolished the youth council. Do you know what? It needs to look at itself and at its own actions, not point fingers. Thank you.
M. Boudreau : Encore une fois, la ministre ne répond pas aux questions. Si elle se pose des questions à savoir pourquoi on n’a pas tellement pris de temps pour l’étude des prévisions budgétaires de son ministère, c’est justement pour cette raison : la ministre ne répond pas aux questions.
La question de l’équité salariale au Nouveau-Brunswick est très importante. Nous avons deux groupes dont l’évaluation est terminée : les employées dans les garderies et les auxiliaires qui travaillent à domicile avec nos aînés. Les personnes qui travaillent dans ces deux secteurs dépendent presque totalement des subventions du gouvernement provincial, et la raison pour laquelle nous avons débuté avec ces deux groupes, c’est parce qu’il y a une pénurie de maind’oeuvre dans ces deux groupes. De plus, il y a des problèmes de recrutement et de maintien pour ce qui est de ces employées.
Si la ministre attend 18 ou 24 mois de plus pour aborder la question de l’équité salariale, ces femmes-là seront punies. Le gouvernement peut-il arrêter de punir ces femmes et aller de l’avant avec la rectification telle que proposée?
Hon. Mrs. Blaney: The Leader of the Opposition is trying to score political points on the backs of women, and it is wrong. We are following the same process that you put in place, that your government said it wanted to deal with in its entirety. That is exactly what we are doing. We do not want to do this in a piecemeal way. It is not fair to women, and you are not doing women any justice by trying to score political points on the backs of women. I will not allow that to happen.
Hon. Mrs. Blaney: No, I will not. I will not allow you to do that. It is a joke to you. You do not ever ask questions. I do not remember a time when the Advisory Council on the Status of Women, in estimates, actually had so few questions. You told me that, basically, you had only 7 to 10 questions. You are not doing justice to that portfolio in the questions you ask. I answered your questions yesterday, and I am answering them again this morning.
M. Boudreau : La ministre ne répond pas aux questions. Elle fabrique plutôt des excuses pour ne pas aller de l’avant. À aucun moment avons-nous dit que nous irions seulement de l’avant une fois que la révision serait complétée pour les quatre groupes. J’encourage la ministre à déposer une preuve de ce qu’elle avance à la Chambre, si elle peut en trouver une.
Nous avons commencé avec l’évaluation des deux premiers groupes parce que ceux-ci étaient prioritaires, selon nous, pour différentes raisons. Les évaluations ont été faites, et la ministre a l’information en main. Elle a tout ce qui est nécessaire pour aller de l’avant avec la rectification et l’ajustement des salaires de ces employés, qui sont des femmes en grande majorité.
Mr. Speaker: Question.
M. Boudreau : Si la ministre dit qu’elle défend les femmes du Nouveau-Brunswick, pourquoi fait-elle attendre ces deux groupes pendant une autre période de 18 mois avant d’ajuster leur salaire? Qu’elle le fasse maintenant, afin qu’ils gagnent finalement le salaire qu’ils méritent.
Hon. Mrs. Blaney: If that was the case and the government had no intention of doing the whole thing before announcing it, then why did it not put a compensation package out last June?

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