N.B. government announces new funding for special care home providers
Earlier in the week, the New Brunswick government announced new funding to support people working with seniors in the province.
Premier Brian Gallant announced that $20 million will go towards six objectives to be met for senior care in the province. The initiatives will include wage increases for special care home providers and home support workers.
Jenna Wallace's daily responsibilities as a personal support worker at a special care home in Saint John vary from day to day. Her duties range from preparing lunch for clients to administering medication to being a first responder on an incident.
Wallace makes $11.75 an hour. According to a study conducted by the New Brunswick government, that is the lowest wage in the country.
“We understand as a government it’s important to tackle our number one challenge… an aging population,” says Premier Brian Gallant.
Tina Learmonth of the home support association says the group had requested change from the government.
“We put a presentation in requesting that home support workers and special care home workers alike make $15.50 as a base entry wage to the industry,” says Learmonth.
So far, Learmonth hasn’t been told if their request was approved, but this week’s announcement has left employees cautiously optimistic.
President of the association, Jan Seely says recruiting and retaining employees is a constant struggle.
“We don’t know what that amount will be for the staff, we hope it’s a significant investment,” Seely says.
Beverly Lockhart’s mother is a resident in the special care home. Lockhart says the turnover rate of care workers is hard on seniors.
“When the turnover rate is so high, it means a new person in her room every few months and it’s a new learning process for that person as well as my mom and it’s very difficult for seniors to do that,” says Lockhart.
With an aging population, employees say the demand for services in the province is increasing rapidly.