Moncton — The New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity is concerned about the absence of two predominantly female employment sectors from the 2022 Speech from the Throne: the caregiving sector and child care. Despite the growing budget surplus, no commitment was made to address the wages nor the working conditions of these essential workers. These are low-income jobs that are greatly affected by inflation. Coalition Chair Krysta Cowling reacts:
On the caregiving sector
Given the current budget surplus, it is a mistake to ignore the growing crisis in the caregiving sector. Hundreds of seniors whose level of care could be provided at home or in a long-term care facility are stuck in hospitals, where costs are higher and the lack of space is greater. Meanwhile, hundreds of beds in facilities remain empty because of staff shortages.
Last year, the Coalition called for a five-year plan to increase wages to achieve pay equity and help recruit and retain skilled workers. Sporadic wage increases are not enough, we need to plan ahead before the crisis overtakes us. We hope we will see that urgency reflected in the 2022-2023 budget, starting with wage increases.
On early learning and child care
We cannot ensure affordable and accessible child care without Early Childhood Educators. The ECE labour shortage is a major barrier to expanding licensed child care in New Brunswick. We need a workforce strategy to address the issue of fair wages in order to ensure that child care is available when New Brunswick families need it.
The shortage of educators is due in part to the shortage of equitable wages. The government must address this issue immediately if it hopes to deliver on its 2021 agreement to provide affordable, accessible, inclusive and quality child care for all New Brunswickers.
The Coalition hopes these two issues will be addressed in the next legislative session, and more specifically in the next budget. “Don't forget them”, says Krysta Cowling.
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The New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity is a group of individuals and organizations that pursues and ensures the realization of the right to pay equity and to just conditions of work for women. To that end, the Coalition engages in communication, education, research, advocacy for the adoption and the implementation of adequate legislation, as well as public policy dialogue and development.
Pay equity is equal pay for work of equal value. To achieve pay equity, the value of female-dominated jobs must be compared to the value of male-dominated jobs.