March 26, 2019
Fredericton (GNB) – The New Brunswick Women’s Council has provided the government with recommendations in response to the 2019-2020 budget and concerns that it will have a disproportionate impact on women.
“We have advised government to share how it took gender into account in its budget process as we are concerned that this budget is not balanced for women,” said Jennifer Richard, co-chair of the council.
The council had previously recommended that government use a gender budgeting process and gender-based analysis to ensure that the budget would not have negative differential impacts on New Brunswickers based on their gender. Since 2017, the council has also advised government to release details on its use of gender-based analysis in decision-making and to make the findings of these analyses public.
The council’s own gender-based analysis of the budget was informed by its public engagement initiative, Resonate, which gathered data from over 1 300 New Brunswick women in late 2017 and early 2018.
“Through Resonate, women in New Brunswick told us there are five priority issues which affect their daily lives and require action: health care; access to and provision of care; employment and economic security; safety and violence; and inequality and discrimination,” said Richard. “Based on these priorities, we are concerned about cuts to housing services, the modest minimum wage increase, and the choice to focus on reducing wait lists for knee and hip replacements surgeries in this fiscal year – but not those for gynecological surgeries, despite having committed to addressing all three wait lists.”
In its advice to government, the council noted that it was eager to see how the province’s housing plan will align with the National Housing Strategy’s commitment that at least 25% of investments must address the unique needs of women and girls. The council is also looking for additional information on:
- investments in child welfare, disability support services, and income security;
- what the wage increases for workers in various women-dominated fields will look like on a per worker, per hour basis; and
- funding for implementation of the framework for action on preventing and responding to sexual violence in New Brunswick.
The budget also provided the council with $429 000 in funding for 2019-2010 – a 48% reduction from the $821,000 it received for the current fiscal year.
“The council has advised government that this new funding level is a minimum viable amount,” said Jody Dallaire, co-chair of the council. “This will require a reduction in the agency’s staff team and its public consultations and research work.”
The New Brunswick Women’s Council is an independent advisory body on women’s equality issues.
Media contact: Beth Lyons, Executive Director, New Brunswick Women’s Council, 506-462-5142 [email protected]