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Coalition seeing increases in budget, but still not enough

By Tara Clow Mar 22, 2023 | 1:03 PM

The New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity says the province is making progress, but a bigger investment is still needed.

The Coalition says the $54.6 million investment in care sector wages in the 2023-24 budget is greater than last year.  It will allocate $44.9 million in wage increases for personal support workers (PSW) in-home support services and special care homes, and will also provide $9.7 million in increases for workers in group homes, community residences, family support services and attendant care.

“Once again, the government recognizes that better and more equitable wages are critical to employee recruitment and retention, but the sector is in crisis and the situation requires robust investment. With back-to-back budget surpluses, the government should have doubled down on reaching pay equity sooner,” says Krysta Cowling, the Coalition’s Chair. “Because workers in the sector are getting impatient. And that should worry the government.”

She says the government did not specify the hourly increase that will be allotted to each care service. And once again, the budget provides no additional funding for transition houses for women fleeing violence.

“It is difficult to accurately predict the amount of hourly increases that will go into the pockets of care workers, but it will be insufficient to reach pay equity. The government must commit to achieving pay equity within a reasonable time frame. We hope the government will develop a long-term action plan for the sector,” adds Cowling.

She adds that workers will seek better-paying jobs elsewhere if they are not being paid what they are worth, “When they remain in undervalued and underpaid jobs, they are in effect subsidizing the government. Especially when the government has been running a budget surplus for the past few years,” adds Cowling.


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