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NB Coalition for Pay Equity AGM: Celebrating 15 Years of Action

2016-06-13

 Members of the NB Coalition for Pay Equity were proud to celebrate their organization’s 15th anniversary, at its AGM, on Saturday, June 11, 2016.

“We have worked hard during the past 15 years. The road to pay equity has had many ups and downs, with obstacles and new friends along the way.  At this year’s AGM, we wanted to reflect on the road ahead and celebrate our solidarity and past successes,” says Vallie Stearns Anderson, Chair of the Coalition.
 
The AGM began with a word of congratulations from the first female minister of Finance in New Brunswick, the Hon. Cathy Rogers. Ms Rogers emphasized that she has been fighting for pay equity for decades, that she’s been a member of the Coalition since its early days, and that the current government is committed to implementing pay equity.
 
A panel discussion on the challenges and opportunities to achieving pay equity legislation followed, with the participation of David Coon, Leader of the Green Party, Jocelyne Mills, Assistant Deputy Minister of the Women’s Equality Branch, and Anne Robichaud, coordinator of a Coalition project on the care-giving sector.
 
David Coon sees the current political climate as a barrier for pay equity and commended the Coalition for bringing to light the need for pay equity. He promotes more collaboration between legislators and civil society, an increased use of democratic tools such as commissions of inquiry, and electoral reform such as proportional representation as means to move social issues such as pay equity forward.
 
Jocelyne Mills sees opportunities in the government promise to require pay equity plans from organizations of 50 employees or more doing business with the government and in the Women’s Equality Branch’s current effort to increase the number of women in leadership positions. She says that there is a need for public education as well as further research to produce data on the private sector.
 
Anne Robichaud talked about the special situation of the care-giving sector, reminding the audience that voluntary measures have not succeeded in achieving pay equity. She also highlighted how most workers in the care-giving sector earn little more than the minimum wage in spite of the responsibilities and qualifications required.
 
The panel was followed by a presentation by Romana Sehic, a community residence worker, and Thérèse Duguay, a home support worker. They talked about their respective work, their unequitable pay and an upcoming campaign by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) to promote the rights of workers in their sectors, including the right to pay equity.
 
After the business meeting, the Raging Grannies treated Coalition members with a good dose of humour and toe-tapping editions of songs with original lyrics on pay equity. Their performance was followed by an informal gathering, with songs and stories about the Coalition’s past 15 years.
 
All in all, the event was a success and was enjoyed by the Coalition’s many partners, volunteers and members.
 
The Coalition’s 2015-2016 Board of Directors is composed of: Vallie Stearns Anderson (Chair), Jula Hughes, Carole Fournier, Monique Levesque, Thérèse Duguay, Susie Proulx-Daigle, Isabelle McKee-Allain, Starlit Simon, Carol Lynn Gamblin, Élaine Roussel, Tanna Pirie-Wilson, Johanne Perron (Executive Director) as well as observers Nancy Arseneau, Eliette Lebreton, Sr Agnès Léger, Sr Jacqueline Poirier, and Odette Robichaud. 

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