This fall, CUPE New Brunswick will launch its Who Cares? campaign to raise public awareness of the precarious nature of the work performed by community care workers across the province. The campaign aims to shed light on the low pay, the lack of job security and the difficult working conditions of the community care workers, most of whom are women, working in nursing homes, group homes, special care homes, transition homes, shelters, etc.
A key objective of the campaign will be to prod the government into reforming the current system of community care services. The province currently does not have an administrative structure to govern the delivery of these essential services, meaning there is no coherent administrative or funding structure for community care services. The existing patchwork of independent care providers overseeing services today includes not-for-profit organizations and private companies.
Not-for-profit organizations work better when properly regulated by the government, as is the case in New Brunswick’s health care sector. Not-for-profit hospitals, for example, are managed and regulated by health authorities such as Horizon Health Authority or Réseau de santé Vitalité, and benefit from standardized working conditions that do not vary from hospital to hospital.
The Who Cares? campaign wants to see the creation of a Community Care Services Authority modeled after the province’s health authorities. Bringing community care service providers under direct public administration will help eliminate administrative duplication and help focus increasingly limited public funds on front-line service delivery and better working conditions for workers.