FREDERICTON (GNB) – A pilot program aimed at expanding pay equity within the private sector is off to a successful start, according to Finance Minister Cathy Rogers. To date, 145 employers have received certificates for successfully completing the government’s pay equity learning module.

“Supporting pay equity in New Brunswick is in the best interest of women, children and all New Brunswickers,” said Rogers. “In addition to having made great strides with pay equity implementation in the public sector, your government is committed to strengthening our economy and improving pay equity across both the public and private sectors.”

Rogers spoke on behalf of Premier Brian Gallant, who is also the minister responsible for women’s equality.

Pay equity is based upon the principle that wages should reflect the value of the job, regardless of whether it is mainly men or mainly women doing the job.

As part of the pilot program launched in June, all employers applying for funding through the One-Job Pledge program are required to complete an online learning module. Employers with 50 or more employees seeking funding through One-Job Pledge are also required to submit a pay equity implementation plan as a condition of receiving funding. Similarly, employers with 50 or more employees responding to government tenders for $1 million or more are required to complete a pay equity learning module.

The certificate of completion for the online learning module is valid for three years.

“Everyone benefits from being more informed about pay equity and wage equality,” said Tom McGinn, executive director of the New Brunswick Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association. “Our members are contractors, support service firms, suppliers and engineers who are responsible for the vast majority of provincial road building and municipal infrastructure projects in New Brunswick and many are now required to complete this learning module should they wish to do business with the province. The learning module is well-organized, informative and the online format makes it easy to complete.”

The provincial government will take into account any feedback received from employers through this pilot program in continuing to work with the private sector to achieve pay equity and advance women’s equality.

“This program represents a made-in-New Brunswick approach that increases awareness of and engagement in pay equity while recognizing and balancing the needs of private sector employers,” said Rogers. “This pilot allows for collaboration between stakeholders, employers and government, which will facilitate and encourage the adoption of pay equity in the private sector.”

Enhancing pay equity throughout the province is a focus area in the New Brunswick Family Plan report on advancing women’s equality.

In March, the provincial government announced an investment of $150,000 annually to 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 the adoption of pay equity. Resources will explain the benefits of pay equity for employees and employers, as well as provide information on how to implement pay equity within their organizations.

The provincial government also continues to work toward full implementation of the Pay Equity Act, 2009.

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