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Coalition Welcomes Support for Pay Equity

2014-05-20

PRESS RELEASE.   
Economic and Social Inclusion Plan:

Pay Equity Coalition welcomes support for pay equity
but wants faster action from government.

The New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity is heartened that the 2014-2019 Economic and Social Inclusion Plan highlights the importance of pay equity legislation in the private sector. However the Coalition wants to see the New Brunswick government pass legislation as soon as possible rather than study the issue once again.

Indeed, the Plan made public on May 16 recommends that government “consider the creation of comprehensive pay equity legislation”.

“We are pleased to see the plan recognizes pay equity as part of the solution and that legislation is necessary for those employed in the private sector,” says Vallie Stearns, Chair of the NB Coalition for Pay Equity.

“Now we need the political will to act. We are beyond the stage of studying the possibility of legislating. Further delay only means prolonging unfair wages for many women and men working in predominantly female jobs.”

The Coalition recalls when Elizabeth Weir, then NDP leader, seconded by Liberal Women’s Issues Critique, Carmel Robichaud, introduced a pay equity bill dealing with both the public and private sectors in 2004. Public hearings overwhelmingly showed support for the proposed bill but the Law Amendment Committee recommended not enacting the bill. Instead, it supported the Lord government’s voluntary 5-year Wage Gap Action Plan while recommending the consideration of legislation if the plan gave no results. During the implementation stage of the 2005-2010 Wage Gap Action Plan, three reports were published showing little progress on pay equity. However, no final report nor an independent review as originally promised were made public.

“Clearly, New Brunswick tested voluntary measures for the private sector and saw no results. We have studied pay equity enough. Now it is time for action. The Coalition will follow very closely each party’s upcoming election platform,” says Vallie Stearns.

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Excerpts from the 2014-2019 Economic and Social Inclusion Plan:

Recommendation 15. “Consider the creation of comprehensive pay equity legislation.”

"The Province of New Brunswick has a Pay Equity Act ensuring that, in the public sector, employees receive equal pay for work of equal or equivalent value. The possibility to extend the enforcement of this Act to the private sector and, particularly, to businesses with which the government has service agreements should be considered. This would fully recognize the value of women’s contribution in the workplace, therefore making tremendous strides towards economic and social inclusion. The creation of an independent and neutral commission responsible for the promotion and respect of pay equity principles also needs to be considered to ensure enforcement and evolution of the Act." (p. 16)

Pay equity is reached when predominantly female jobs are paid the same as predominantly male jobs that have the same value.

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