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New Brunswick Finance Minister Blaine Higgs talks during a pre-budget news conference in Fredericton on Tuesday, March 22, 2011.David Smith-MDS Photography/The Associated Press

New Brunswick's finance minister says the provincial government has gained the support of the majority of unions that represent the civil service in its proposed public pension changes.

Blaine Higgs says he has signed a memorandum of understanding with unions that represent two-thirds of the bargaining positions within the public sector for pension legislation the government will introduce later today.

He says the unions include those that represent nurses, hospital workers and court stenographers.

The government wants to implement changes including moving to a shared-risk model for pensions in order to address a $1-billion deficit for the public service plan.

The provincial wing of the Canadian Union of Public Employees has expressed concerns over the changes, saying while they may work for some unionized workers, they don't for others who have defined benefit plans.