This year on International Women’s Day, the New Brunswick Federation of Labour wants to take a moment to recognize that care work is the foundation of our economy. Care work, both paid and unpaid, is what makes all other forms of work possible.
We all need care at some point in our lives. Our jobs, our families and our economy depend on us having our care needs met.
Most of the work in meeting people’s care needs is performed by women and much of this work is unpaid. According to the International Labour Organization, women in Canada do two thirds of unpaid caregiving work In Canada. This includes caring for the children, aging parents, family members living with a disability and individuals with complex care needs such as those living with dementia. It is estimated that the value of unpaid work in Canada is approximately 26% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Paid caregiving is also most often performed by women. It is undervalued and underpaid. Racialized women are disproportionately represented among paid care workers. Care workers often face low wages and poor working conditions. The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly exposed the cracks and gaps in our care systems.
It’s time to make care work visible. It is also time to recognize and acknowledge the time, effort and skills that go into caregiving. It’s time to invest in strengthening care systems to support everyone who needs care, reduce the burden on unpaid caregivers and ensure decent wages and working conditions for paid caregivers. Care services include child care, home care, disability and long-term care, mental health supports and elder care services.
Society as a whole benefits if we invest in strengthening caregiving infrastructure in the province.
For additional information please contact:
(506) 857-2125 / (506) 381-8969 (cell)