The New Brunswick Federation of Labour was disappointed that this week’s provincial budget did not contain more initiatives to resolve the ongoing workforce crisis in New Brunswick. Although initiatives were announced to recruit more teachers, teaching assistants and nurses, the budget remains mostly silent on addressing wages and working conditions for public sector and para-public sector workers.
“The projected budget surplus was made possible by the sacrifices made by public sector workers over the past years. New Brunswick is experiencing a workforce crisis where it is difficult to recruit and retain the necessary staff to provide the essential services that New Brunswickers need,” says Daniel Legere, President of the New Brunswick Federation of Labour. “This workforce crisis will remain after this budget as it fails to address issues pertaining to wages and working conditions.”
The Brunswick Federation of Labour’s pre-budget consultation brief suggested several initiatives that would have raised provincial revenue by hundreds of thousands of dollars. Initiatives like harmonizing small business and corporate taxes to the Atlantic average, closing several costly and inefficient tax loopholes and introducing a wealth tax. This additional revenue could have been invested to improve essential public services and para-public services such as nursing homes.
“The budget is full of good intentions and lofty goals such as improving mental health services and increasing access to primary health care providers,” adds Legere, “what seems to be lacking is a credible plan and the necessary human resources to make these goals a reality. We saw it recently when the health care reform was announced. It all fell apart when we discovered that there was no real plan to make this reform happen without jeopardizing patient care.”
The New Brunswick Federation of Labour is the central voice of organized labour in the province. We represent over 35,000 workers from every sector of the economy and from every community in the province.
For information, please contact:
Daniel Legere, President
(506) 857-2125 / (506) 381-8969