Press Release


Budget: Three groups that defend women's rights are left with questions


Three groups promoting equality for women welcome the investments announced by the provincial government in child care, health and education. However, the New-Brunswick Child Care Coalition, the Regroupement féministe du Nouveau-Brunswick (RFNB) and the New-Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity stated that many questions as to how that money will be spent are left unanswered. Also, the organizations deplore the absence of gender-based analysis in the budget process, despite their repeated demands during the last year.

« Gender based analysis is the only way that governments can make sure that their budget benefits women and men equally. Since the Graham government says he is acting with the best interest of Newbrunswickers, he must to use this tool to understand whether or not he is in fact doing so », asserts RFNB executive director, Sarah LeBlanc.
Gender-based analysis permits the measurement and planning of the different effects of budgets and policies on men and women, with the goal of promoting gender equality.
The Child Care Coalition, the RFNB and the Coalition for Pay Equity find that the budget lacks important details. In its 2009 Speech form the Throne, the government has committed to adopting the Early Learning and Child Care Act. It has also committed to making the necessary investments in the early learning and child care sector to ensure that a minimum of 20 per cent of New Brunswick infants and half of New Brunswick’s two-to-five year olds have access to a registered early learning space by 2015. However, the budget does not give details on how or in which proportions the 15 million $ will be distributed to new initiatives in early learning and child care, promoting community schools and affordable housing, and increasing access to post-secondary education.
“There is growing body of evidence that demonstrates that not all child care investments are created equal,” says Jody Dallaire, Executive Director of the New Brunswick Child Care Coalition. “Funds need to flow directly to all existing child care programs, while the new spaces that are created should go to the non-profit and public sectors. Otherwise parents will continue to struggle to find and afford a quality child care space.”
The budget also does not mention the pay equity adjustments promised in the Throne Speech for five target groups - child care, home support, nursing home, community residences and transition house workers.
 “We were hoping to get more information about the pay equity adjustments for the five targeted groups. When will these adjustments be made? When will they be completed? We are also waiting for details regarding the amounts that will be specifically allocated to the Pay Equity Bureau required in the Pay Equity Act, 2009,” said Johanne Perron, Executive Director of the Coalition for Pay Equity.
A gender based analysis, prepared by fiscal expert and Law Professor at Queen’s University, Kathleen A. Lahey ( ), showed that the two-rate fiscal system being implemented now by the government will have a negative impact on women. In average, women have a lower annual income and therefore most will not benefit from the new tax cuts. Moreover, the new fiscal system reduces provincial revenues, which will most likely lead to a structural deficit and limit the government’s ability to sustain initiatives and investments in social infrastructures in the long term. Again, this would impact women negatively and lead to increased inequality.
In this context, the three groups worry about the repeated cuts to the NB Advisory Council on the Status of Women. This governmental agency plays a vital liaison role between organizations and government, while advising the government regarding women’s issues. Its budget was reduced by 6% in the last 2 years.

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