New Brunswick Community Caregiving Sector
The community caregiving sector refers to the services managed by non-profit organizations or private businesses but mandated by the provincial government. The jobs in community care services are almost exclusively occupied by women. It is estimated that more than 10,000 to 15,000 people work to provide these services in New Brunswick. These include:
- Adult Development Activities, Programs and Training (ADAPT) programs
- Child care services
- Community residences
- Home support agencies
- Special care homes
- Support to family agencies
- Transition houses
These services complement government services and support New Brunswick families. Wages are extremely low considering the required skills and qualifications, responsibilities, effort and working conditions: around $14 to $16 an hour in most cases. As a result, this leads to high levels of economic insecurity among women workers.
“[W]omen in workplaces without male comparators may suffer more acutely from the effects of pay inequity precisely because of the absence of men in their workplaces”.
— Supreme Court of Canada, Centrale des syndicats du Québec v. Quebec (Attorney General),
2018 SCC 18, para. 3, 29, 34
The government led pilot projects to evaluate pay equity in four of these services in 2008-2014: home care, child care, community residences and transition houses. but the results were disappointingly low. The Coalition and economist Ruth Rose showed that the methodology used by the government was flawed.
To ensure these workers receive fair wages and better working conditions, we need:
- Private sector legislation that includes job comparison methods to evaluate pay equity in the absence of male-dominated jobs in these workplaces;
- Public investments in wages increases.
“This field will remain a female-dominated field because of the low wages. No man wants to work at these wages.”
— A special care home worker
The Coalition is promoting pay equity in the sector through its three-year project Valuing Community Care-Giving. The project will:
- evaluate adequate wage in the sector with improved methodology;
- educate about the value of these services; and
- advocate for pay equity with the results of the job evaluations.
Want to know what is going on or get involved? Join our Facebook group for employees & employers of the sector to help educate, evaluate and advocate about the value of care-giving jobs.