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The Value of Care: Pay equity in special care homes, ESSP agencies and family support agencies

Moncton — A new pay equity exercise carried out by the New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity reveals that wages in three other community caregiving services are still far from reaching pay equity.

Over the course of the pandemic, the importance of community-based caregiving was widely recognized, but did not translate into fair wages for workers. This is the conclusion of the Coalition's new report "The Value of Care: Pay equity in special care homes, ESSP agencies and family support agencies”.

In 2020-2021, the Coalition for Pay Equity initiated new pay equity evaluations for four female-dominated jobs in three services. These latest evaluations are detailed in this report:

  • Special care home workers;
  • Crisis interveners in ESSP community agencies;
  • Family support workers for adults; and
  • Family support workers for children.

According to the evaluations, fair wages would range from $22.44 to $25.91 an hour to reach the wages of male-dominated jobs of comparable value. Current wages are much lower—between $14.50 and $16.80—revealing gaps as wide as $9.00 per hour. This demonstrates the urgency of developing a plan and investing in the wages of sector workers to achieve pay equity.



"This evaluation affirms that this workforce, composed primarily of women, is systematically underpaid and undervalued," says Frances LeBlanc, Chair of the Coalition. "The undervaluing of these jobs leads to significant difficulties in recruiting and retaining qualified workers. Pay inequity in this sector is a long-standing problem rooted in antiquated gendered conceptions of work. It is time to rectify this situation."

The Coalition recommends that the government develop a five-year plan to achieve pay equity in the sector and extend pay equity legislation to all employers in the province.

"We recognize that successive governments have invested in wage increases over the past decade. However, our pay equity study confirms that we are still a long way from reaching pay equity. We are ready to work with government to develop a plan to ensure a stable, valued and fairly paid workforce," adds Frances LeBlanc.

This evaluation follows a pay equity maintenance exercise conducted in 2019-2020 in three services initially evaluated between 2008 and 2014 by the government and the caregiving sector.

The Coalition is thankful to the forty people who participated in the job evaluations, from both employees and employers in the sector. The Coalition carried out these exercises as part of the Valuing Community Caregiving Work project, funded by Women and Gender Equality Canada. The report released today outlines all the steps involved in the process of determining fair wages.

The Coalition recommends:

  1. That the provincial government develop and implement a five-year plan to reach pay equity in the whole community care sector, including:
    1. Increased public investments in wages until pay equity is achieved;
    2. The development of wage scales taking pay equity into account;
    3. The annual indexation of wage scales based on the consumer price index; and
    4. Pay equity exercises for all community care jobs that have not been evaluated, including those of management.
  2. That the government ensures the maintenance of pay equity in the community care sector every five years.
  3. That the government extends the pay equity act to the entire private sector.

[1] The current level-entry hourly wage for special care homes and family support services is derived from the Human Services Coalition of New Brunswick and includes the increases announced by the Department of Social Development, in the news release Wage increases on April 1 for workers in the human service sector, March 19th 2021, Please note that the hourly wage differs from the average hourly wage identified in this same release. The entry-level wage for ESSP agencies is derived solely from the data provided by the Department of Social Development.


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Rachel Richard
Public Affairs and Communications