The New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity applauds the federal government’s decision to invest $30 billion over five years for early learning and child care, including for Indigenous children. It also welcomes the investment of $3 billion over five years to help provinces and territories set new standards for long-term care.
“This is a unique opportunity to establish a universal, publicly funded child care system in our province. We have long argued that such a system is an important cornerstone of social and economic infrastructure,” said Frances LeBlanc, Chair of the Coalition.
The federal government plans to reduce child care costs by 50% by 2022, to an average of $10 per day by 2025-2026. Frances LeBlanc notes that for every dollar invested in child care, there is an economic return of $1.60 to $6.00, due to the increased participation of women in the labour force.
“Furthermore, in order to provide quality child care services, we must ensure pay equity for early childhood educators. We need to value this important work, which is performed mostly by women and has long been underpaid. “
The Coalition also highlights the $3 billion investment over five years to help provinces and territories set new standards for long-term care, but is awaiting details.
“We hope that the government will adopt a comprehensive approach to long-term care that includes the whole range of services, from home support to nursing homes. Norms should aim to ensure fair wages and working conditions to staff in all these services,” explains Frances LeBlanc.
She highlights, as did the Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland, that these services are often provided at low wages, mostly by women, and disproportionately by racialized women.
The Coalition will watch the rollout of the Age Well at Home initiative, to which $90 millions are allocated over three years, starting in 2021-2022. According to the budget, this initiative “would assist community-based organizations in providing practical support that helps low-income and otherwise vulnerable seniors age in place, such as matching seniors with volunteers who can help with meal preparations, home maintenance, daily errands, yard work, and transportation.”
According to Frances LeBlanc, women shouldn’t be expected to undertake these tasks for free. They already often find themselves in the roles of family caregivers and volunteers. They need the support of adequately funded services and fairly paid staff.
Johanne Perron is the executive director of the New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity, 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.