The NBU/NUPGE supports this move by government. Once it becomes official, it will mark 2 years that the union has been pushing for these changes.
Fredericton (16 July 2018) — Two years ago, voting delegates of the New Brunswick Union (NBU/NUPGE) gathered for its Biennial Convention. One of the items on the agenda was a resolution for the union to push government to enact paid leave for those facing domestic violence, intimate partner violence or sexual violence. NBU/NUPGE members voted unanimously in favour of the resolution., and recently, the legislation came one step closer to becoming a reality.
After years of pressure, New Brunswick government includes language in legislation to support those suffering from abuse
The New Brunswick government unveiled proposed regulations under the Employment Standards Act that would, “provide leave of up to 10 days that could be used intermittently or continuously, and up to 16 weeks that could be used in one continuous period, of which the first 5 days would be paid.”
The public has until July 13 to provide feedback on the proposed regulations.
The NBU/NUPGE supports this move by government. Once it becomes official, it will mark 2 years that the union has been pushing for these changes. At times, it didn’t appear this would come to fruition.
NBU/NUPGE on the frontline calling for changes
The NBU/NUPGE has met with numerous politicians and government officials during this process. While some were extremely helpful and onboard with the leave, others were less so.
For instance, some members of the official opposition stated they would like to see support from the business community before offering support. This was an unacceptable response for the NBU/NUPGE as the legislation was about protecting victims and children not about making sure it wouldn’t affect the bottom line of business owners.
A government official — when presented with the idea — stated the province is not a leader when it comes to new legislation, preferring to see how other provinces move forward first. Again, this was an unacceptable response given how serious the situation and the fact that other provinces, including Manitoba and Ontario, had already passed similar legislation or were in the process.
Solidarity with community coalitions to pressure government
However, the NBU/NUPGE did find a lot of support with community partners to push for the changes to legislation. The coalition included Liberty Lane, New Brunswick Association of Social Workers, NB Association for Community Living, NB Nurses Union, St. Mary's First Nation, Women in Transition House Inc., Gignoo Transition House and the Fredericton Firefighters Association.
In addition, David Coon, MLA and Green Party Leader, worked with the NBU/NUPGE to bring a similar proposal forward to the legislature before the province made its first announcement in February concerning the leave. The New Brunswick NDP also supported the NBU/NUPGE's efforts.
Rina Arseneault, associate director of the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research at the University of New Brunswick, was also invaluable during the process, as were members of the Women’s Equality Branch.
Supporting those who are affected by domestic abuse is an important issue, one the NBU/NUPGE is pleased to see moving forward.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE