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New Brunswick Wage Gap

June 12 2008 - New Brunswick's Provincial Government is claiming significant progress in reducing the wage gap between men and women despite a 'slight' increase from 12% in 2006 to 12.6% in 2007. Mary Schryer, Minister responsible for the Status of Women, attributed the increase to employment and wage increases in the construction industry - traditionally a male-dominated sector. She said:

"I want to make it very clear that this increase, however small, is not acceptable to government, and is certainly not acceptable to the women of New Brunswick."

Commenting on the second annual progress report for New Brunswick's five-year Wage Gap Action Plan, Mary Schryer said:

"The action plan has introduced a number of programs and workshops designed to help change the attitudes and norms in our province and our society that have lead to wage inequality between women and men. While we have made great progress in reducing the wage gap, we still have a great deal to accomplish in the next two years."

Launched in 2005, the New Brunswick plan - Facing the Economic Imperative is intended to reduce the wage gap to 10% by 2010. The report describes:

  • Implementation of pay equity in government departments and public schools
  • Groundwork to do the same for hospital employees and staff in government agencies and corporations
  • Launch of pay equity programs for home-support workers in agencies contracted by the government and child-care staff employed in provincially registered child-care facilities

Minister Schryer said:

"Our government committed in the Charter for Change to establishing clear and measurable benchmarks and targets to achieve pay equity, ensure that pay equity legislation applies to all parts of the public service, work to achieve pay equity in the private sector, and be a model employer. We also committed to lead by example in implementing job evaluations resulting in pay equity with workers under contract or purchase of service agreements with the province. We will fulfil these commitments in our current mandate."

The report also highlights the 57 Wage Gap Action Plan scholarships awarded to people entering non-traditional occupations, and the Summer Mentorship Program for Female Students.

"Our government has been unanimous in support for this initiative, and we are within reach of our wage-gap goals," said Mary Schryer. "Over the remaining two years of the plan we will be intensifying our work with our stakeholders and the employer community to close the wage gap and address pay inequity."

Minister Schryer said that she was determined to ensure that there will be no wage inequality within hospitals and all government agencies and corporations. Also, she intends to ensure that at least a third of decision-makers within the New Brunswick government will be women. She has plans to:

  • Introduce a 'social marketing plan' aimed at educating employers about the benefits of wage-gap-free workplaces
  • Put a process in place to recognize employers who have instituted pay equity programs and other wage-gap-reduction initiatives in their establishments.

Mary Schryer concluded:

"Reducing the wage gap benefits our entire province, but it can only be achieved if everyone takes part. By working together to end the wage gap as part of our effort to achieve self-sufficiency, our children will be able to live and work in a progressive, forward-thinking New Brunswick where gender equality in the workplace is not an issue."

"The status of women is losing ground in New Brunswick since the arrival to power of the Liberal government" said MLA Madeleine Dubé an opposition critic. "Furthermore, we are still waiting for a bill on pay equity promised by the Liberals, probably a broken promise. The issue of daycares is hardly moving, another broken promise."

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