The Coalition for Pay Equity's proposed legislation on pay equity is presented at the New Brunswick Legislative AssemblyWednesday, July 28 2010
The Coalition for Pay Equity’s legislation proposal was presented to the New Brunswick government on Friday June 25, 2004 by New Democratic Party’s leader, Elizabeth Weir. The second reading of the bill will take place on Tuesday June 29, 2004. “We have worked on this project for more than a year and a half. Now it is the politician’s turn to do their job” declares Louise Gerrette Winchester, President of the Coalition for Pay.
The fact that jobs occupied by women are under-paid has significant repercussions for our society, on women’s and children’s poverty and on the cost of the healthcare system.
Currently, the hourly wage for women workers in New Brunswick is 82 cents for every dollar men earn (Statistics Canada 2003). In other words, in New Brunswick, women earn an average of 82.2% of men’s pay. This difference might not seem very important. “However, in the course of a lifetime, a woman who works full-time would have accumulated a difference of $80,000 compared to men’s pay due to gender-based wage discrimination. This is huge” says Louise Gerrette Winchester.
“Furthermore, women who work all their life for salaries that do not reflect the value of their work, will face poverty when they retire. In fact, many elderly women simply cannot afford to retire and will have to continue working, health-permitting. This situation is disturbing in the context of an ageing population” adds the president of the Coalition for Pay Equity.
Pay equity legislation would also help the new-Brunswick economy. Employers would be better equipped to recruit and retain competent workers, and young women would be mor inclined to build careers in the province.
Adopting a law on pay equity will help address part of the solution to this poverty. “A law on pay equity would eliminate the under-remuneration of occupation traditionally held by women, by reducing the poverty of women in these occupations and the impoverishment of their children” adds Louise Guerrette Winchester.
In addition, the number of qualified workers is diminishing in New Brunswick's work force and a law on pay equity would be a positive step toward solving this problem. By improving wage conditions for workers, a law on pay equity would help employers retain their workers and recruit new workers, while simultaneously encouraging young women to build a career in New Brunswick.
The principle of equal pay for work of equal value is a fundamental human right recognised by Canada and the international community. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms clearly prohibits any form of discrimination based on gender (art. 15). The government of Canada has committed itself to respect the principle of pay equity by ratifying many international agreements. The New Brunswick government is bound by Canada’s international engagements and therefore has the responsibility to guarantee pay equity to all the women in the province.
Louise Guerrette Winchest concludes by adding that “this Pay Equity Legislation proposal reasserts that pay equity is a fundamental human right. This is something that we must always remember when we are talking about pay equity. The exercise of a human right is not a privilege which can be granted to some citizens and not to others. All New Brunswick citizens should be able to exercise their right to equal pay for work of equal value.”
The Coalition for Pay Equity is a group of New Brunswick organizations and individuals that lobbies the provincial government to enact legislation to provide pay equity in both the public and private sectors. Pay equity is equal pay for work of equal or comparable value. The Pay Equity Legislation proposal is posted on the Coalition’s Web Site at: : www.equite-equity.com, under What’s new.