We are calling on all political parties to invest in meaningful wage increases for the caregiving sector and childcare services.
We are among the more than 12,000 New Brunswickers (mostly women) who are entrusted with the well-being, security and care of the most vulnerable: children, seniors, people living with a disability, and women fleeing violence. We make up the New Brunswick’s community caregiving sector; we provide services in community residences, special care homes, transition houses, ADAPT centers, home support agencies and family support agencies.
We are systematically underpaid, undervalued and overworked with little to no benefits or paid sick leave. Why? Because as female-dominated jobs, the responsibilities, skills, effort and working conditions required are not fully recognized—or compensated.
Our work was deemed “essential” in the midst of the pandemic and we have been working in conditions that put our lives and those of our dependents at risk. Yet, as New Brunswick embarks on its economic recovery plans, our work remains underpaid and undervalued. Without the temporary top-ups consented during COVID-19, most of us only earn between 14 and 16 dollars an hour to care for your friends, colleagues and family members.
Our wages should reflect the value of our work. The services we provide are crucial to the smooth functioning of society and the economy. Continuing to ignore this will only intensify the current staff recruitment and retention problems, thus affecting the access, quality and continuity of care.
The next provincial government has the unique opportunity to address the important vulnerabilities and inequities in the sector.
Any measures to accelerate the recovery as well as ensure greater economic security for women should include public investments in the wages of workers in the caregiving and child care sectors to reach pay equity.
A healthy society cares for its most vulnerable and provides fair conditions for those who care for them. A healthy economy ensures that all its citizens are able to participate equally, and that their work is valued and paid fairly.
We, the undersigned, ask all political parties to act now so that we can prosper and continue to care for the well-being of our province.
We care. Don’t you?
Ethel Kathleen Demeau Cleveland
Edina Dokane Nagy
Laurie Hill Anderson
Samantha Hudon Chamberlain
Erica Lynn Lavigne
Louise Leblanc Bourque
Natasha Catherine McKnight
Lindsay M. Neale
Sarah M. Wale