June 19, 2017 4:36 pm
Updated: June 19, 2017 4:49 pm

New Brunswick company offers paid leave to employees who run in provincial election

WATCH ABOVE: A Saint John based business is encouraging its employees to run in the 2018 election by offering full wages during their campaign and job security if they are unsuccessful. Jeremy Keefe has more.

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A Saint John based business has launched a new initiative they hope will help ensure the best possible candidates are on the 2018 provincial election ballot.

Innovatia, a technology company, is offering two months paid leave with benefits for any employees who runs for office.

READ MORE: NB group Women For 50% pushes for gender equality in government

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“As business people we see this as a huge opportunity to increase the pool and the talent of the pool that is actually running for politics,” explained Roxanne Fairweather, Co-CEO of Innovatia.

“We don’t care what party you’re running for, we don’t care the gender of the person, we just want good quality people to be in the race so that we get the best at the end.”

The company heads believe financial concerns can be a barrier that prevents would-be candidates from throwing their hat in the ring.

“I believe our political system is supposed to reflect our society and so it’s critical that we have more representation from females,” said Dave Grebenc, who also serves as co-CEO at Innovatia. “And for that matter from underrepresented parts of our society.”

By providing the stability of a pay cheque through the campaign process, as well as the guarantee of a job to return to if unsuccessful in their bid, the company think it’s more likely employees with political aspirations will feel confident in pursuing them.

“This is stewardship of our political process and I think every New Brunswicker has to really think hard about that,” Fairweather said.

READ MORE: Equality: More than just numbers for New Brunswick Women’s Council

Not content with just changing the landscape for their own employees, Innovatia is also challenging other businesses to follow suit.

They hope to see companies of all sizes adopting similar initiatives or coming up with their own ways to support employees looking to enter the political sphere.

“We want everyone to consider what they can do to support their employees to get into the political process,” said Fairweather.

Innovatia will now start province wide information sessions to help further the conversation.

Their first session will take place Thursday in Saint John.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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