Moncton - The New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity decries the lack of a long-term vision for the caregiving sector in the Speech from the Throne and seeks further details on the government's plans for child care.
"Sustained investments in caregiving, child care and women's participation in the recovery plan are at the heart of a recovery that strives for gender equality," says Frances LeBlanc, Chair of the Coalition.
"The Speech does not signal any intention to seriously address the crisis in the caregiving sector. We need to develop a multi-year plan to ensure caregiving services of quality, as well as a valued and fairly compensated workforce across New Brunswick," says Frances LeBlanc, Chair of the Coalition.
After conducting a pay equity maintenance exercise, the Coalition recommends that the government develop a five-year plan to achieve pay equity in the sector. The exercise revealed that wages in three community caregiving services are still far from achieving pay equity. In fact, current salaries range from $14.40 to $16.80 per hour, while fair wages would range from $22 to $25.
“At the height of the pandemic, the government recognized the important contribution of caregivers,” explains Frances LeBlanc. “Yet the lack of a long-term plan makes those who care for children, the elderly, people living with a disability or mental illness, or women fleeing domestic violence more vulnerable.”
According to LeBlanc, support for early childhood educators must begin by ensuring fair wages. The Coalition applauded the provincial government's efforts to improve training and the quality of child care services, but notes that the 2020-2021 agreement with the federal government remains a solution that won't extend beyond a few months.
"We hope that the government's recognition of the caregiving sector will translate into increased investments in wages in the next budget. Social services such as caregiving, child care and gender equality must be at the heart of our economic recovery--and growth," added LeBlanc.
"We must act now before we exhaust the compassion of an overburdened and underpaid workforce. We need a feminist recovery." concludes the Chair.
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