NB Budget 2024: Missed Opportunities Leave New Brunswickers Behind

March 19, 2024 – The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) New Brunswick expressed disappointment with the provincial budget unveiled today.

“This budget is a missed opportunity to address the pressing needs of New Brunswickers,” said Stephen Drost, President of CUPE NB. “This is a budget where the current government is packing up and is looking at the exit door. We are surprised just how little was invested in healthcare, education, social development while the urgent needs are growing so much and our communities challenges are compounding” he added.

NB Budget 2024-2025

CUPE NB highlights several areas of concern:

  • Underinvestment in Healthcare: Despite repeated calls from medical professionals and unions, the healthcare budget falls short of addressing staffing shortages and improving patient care.
  • Stagnant Wages: The government’s attempt to suppress wage expectations disrespects hardworking public sector employees who are facing rising costs of living.
  • Education Funding: While additional funding for student enrolment is positive, it does little to address crumbling infrastructure or support educators and support staff facing increased workloads.
  • Long-Term Care Crisis Ignored: The budget offers no solution to the ongoing crisis in long-term care facilities, particularly the non-profit nursing homes, which represent the majority of long-term care establishments. Wages remain very low in this sector and the province has not shown real willingness to address this.

A Glimmer of Hope on Housing:

CUPE NB acknowledges the creation of a dedicated budget line for housing and increased investment in the New Brunswick Housing Corporation. 60 million more in this budget line is good news. Yet, this is a far cry from what the province must do to improve housing access. No announcements were made regarding tenant protections and preventing the loss of currently affordable housing stock from being converted into high-profit rentals and condos. CUPE NB is saddened to see how this government has not made public affordable housing a major part of its plan to address the province’s affordable housing crisis.

CUPE NB calls on the government to:

  • Deal with the staffing crisis in public services like healthcare, education, social services, and long-term care.
  • Respect the collective bargaining rights of public sector workers and dedicate funding to help workers deal with cost of living pressures.
  • Develop a comprehensive plan to address the affordable housing crisis, which disproportionately hurts working families, seniors, and lower-income residents.