Higgs Government continues to leave essential long-term care workers out in the cold

Moncton, N.B. – January 8, 2021 – UFCW Canada is calling on the Higgs government in New Brunswick to do the right thing and stop its 5-month exclusion of essential long-term care workers from the federally funded wage top-up program.

Despite working around the clock to clean retirement and long-term care homes, help feed the elderly, and ensure bed linens are washed in accordance with public health standards, a relatively small number of essential workers at third-party eldercare facilities in New Brunswick continue to be cut-out from the subsidy program since it was first “extended” in July.

“Why these essential workers would be left out in the cold like this over the holidays, and in the several months prior, doesn’t make any sense to us, and I’m sure it won’t make much sense to the people of New Brunswick – especially for folks who have aging parents and other loved ones in these homes,” says Mark Dobson, UFCW Canada director of the Atlantic Provinces. 

“The province received this money from Ottawa to better support frontline heroes who are providing critical services throughout the pandemic. The program was established precisely for this purpose, so it is strange that the Higgs government insists on excluding these essential workers. Adding to the confusion and inequity of the situation in New Brunswick is the fact that other provinces have included these roles as part of their top-up programs,” adds Dobson.

UFCW represents approximately 80 members impacted by the exclusion, who work as cooks, cleaners, and laundry attendants in the province’s third-party eldercare facilities. The union has discussed the matter with Bruce Fitch, Minister of Social Development, but the government has yet to provide a compelling reason for the exclusion and why it should stand. UFCW is now calling on members of the public – especially those with loved ones currently at one of the effected homes – to ask their respective MLAs why the critical contributions of these essential eldercare workers are being ignored.