Honourable Blaine Higgs
Premier of New Brunswick
P.O. Box 6000
Via email @email
April 7, 2021
Dear Premier Higgs,
Despite passing pay equity legislation in the public sector, proactive pay equity continues to be missing for New Brunswick workers in the private sector. In order to address the widening gender pay gap, pay equity needs to be extended to the private sector, where 65 to 70% of women in the labour force are employed. Everyone deserves to be paid fairly for the value of their work, whether their job is done mainly by women, or mainly by men.
As the Atlantic Regional Director for Unifor, I urge the New Brunswick government to address the crucial issue of the gender pay gap.
We join with the Pay Equity Coalition of New Brunswick in calling for a law that is proactive, implemented by an independent pay equity commission, inclusive of the variety of work arrangements workers find themselves in and provides for maintenance.
In the final report of New Brunswick’s Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation’s Advisory Committee on Living Wage and Pay Equity, they recommend that the government “adopt comprehensive pay equity legislation that covers employees in both the public and private sectors”. They note:
Pay equity is not only an important compensation practice; it is a human right. When pay equity is absent, it results in an unequal standard of living between men and women and it contributes to growth in the gender wage gap over a lifetime. Even small amounts of pay inequity in hourly earnings can result in a large difference to overall employment and pension earnings over a lifetime.
Putting proactive legislation in place addresses issues of discrimination in an efficient and effective manner.
It is clear that New Brunswick will not recover from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic until women recover from the devastating impact that the pandemic has had on their livelihoods. Addressing the gender pay gap is a necessary and important step your government can take to lead our province into a pandemic recovery.
Unifor Atlantic Regional Director