FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government will invest $150,000 annually to support the advancement of pay equity among private sector organizations that do business with government and that employ 50 or more people.

“Supporting pay equity in New Brunswick is in the best interest of women, children and all New Brunswickers,” said Finance Minister Cathy Rogers. “Your government knows that equal pay for work of equal value contributes to strengthening the economy, having a better quality of life and advancing women’s equality in the province. A strong economy is one where prosperity is shared equitably among all those living in our province.”

This investment will provide additional resources for the Pay Equity Bureau within the Women’s Equality Branch. These resources will enable the bureau to play a greater role in working with the private sector to promote understanding of pay equity. Resources will explain the benefits of pay equity for employees and employers, as well as provide information on how to apply pay equity within their organizations.

“Pay equity is not only an economic issue, but it is also a fundamental human right,” said Johanne Perron, executive director of the New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity. “To make this a reality for all New Brunswickers, we have to prepare the ground. We therefore applaud these new investments to advance pay equity in the private sector, and we will continue to collaborate with the government until we have legislation for the private sector.”

Pay equity is based upon the principle that wages should reflect the value of the job, regardless of whether it is a male or female doing the job. Resolving these issues in the private sector helps ensure that women are afforded the same rights as men in terms of compensation, leading to a better work environment and increased productivity, said Rogers.

Overcoming Poverty Together: The New Brunswick Economic and Social Inclusion Plan has made pay equity one of its priority actions with the creation of an advisory committee on pay equity and living wage”, said committee chair Steve Lambert. “Recognizing the value of women’s contributions in the workplace has been identified as crucial for the advancement of economic and social inclusion of women in the province. The committee is enthusiastic to see the government moving forward with this announcement.”

The government has completed five pay equity studies in Parts I, II and III of the public service for female-dominated groups of employees including CUPE 2745 (educational assistants and school administrative assistants), CUPE 1840 (court stenographers), Medical Science Professionals, Specialized Health Care Professionals, and Professional Support in Schools. In addition, three out of the seven Crown corporations have achieved compliance with the Pay Equity Act of 2009.

Enhancing pay equity throughout the province is a focus area in the New Brunswick Family Plan report on advancing women’s equality. The government continues to work with the private sector to help achieve pay equity and advance women’s equality through awareness and education initiatives.

Tools and resources to help private sector organizations examine their compensation practices can be found on the Pay Equity Bureau website.