Fredericton – David Coon, MLA for Fredericton South and Leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick issued the following statement in recognition of International Women’s Day:
“International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate the achievements of women, as well as to highlight the need for action to achieve equality.
While there has been significant progress in pursuing pay equity for women, the fact remains that the face of poverty is disproportionately female. Two-thirds of all minimum wage jobs in New Brunswick are filled by women. In Saint John, 25 percent of families are led by single mothers and over 40 percent of live below the poverty line.
In the role of primary caregivers without access to universal and affordable daycare, women are often restricted to working in the most insecure jobs, those that are part-time, seasonal or contractual.
In the long term, these factors contribute to a decreased ability to save for retirement, leading to a higher likelihood of being poor as seniors. According to the New Brunswick Health Council, 38% of women in their senior years live on low incomes, compared to 21% of senior men.
A Basic Income Guarantee would enable women to better invest in themselves and in their families, particularly for those receiving social assistance as the restrictions on work and savings would be eliminated. The experience of women during the pilot project that provided a basic income guarantee in Dauphin, Manitoba was that is served as an escape hatch from poverty.
PEI and Ontario plan to experiment with basic income guarantees. In the pursuit of economic justice for women, New Brunswick should institute its own pilot projects with basic income guarantees, as are planned in PEI and Ontario.”