Time's Up on the Gender Pay Gap - action you can take!
Publication DateMonday, April 9, 2018 - 5:15pm
A Message from the Chair of the Provincial Women's Committee
Equal Pay Day is Tuesday, April 10, 2018. This date symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year.
Equal Pay Day was originated by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996 as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men's and women's wages.
Census numbers from 2006 show unsurprisingly that women continue to earn significantly less than their male counterparts in Canada. This gap widens even further where women are highly educated regardless of whether or not they work in a male or female dominated field . For example, the wage gap across all fields between women and men holding a bachelor degree was $13,740 in 2016. While men working in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) occupations earned 24% more than men in other fields, women in STEM occupations earned just 11.5% more than other women.
A senior economist with the Canadian Centre of Policy Alternatives says "direct sexism in the labour market" is the reason the gender wage gap continues to exist in 2018. Sheila Block says one way to end this practice is to have "pay transparency" where employers would be required to report and post hourly pay arrangements especially for temporary, part-time and contract employees who are often than not are females. It’s a proposal also supported by the Equal Pay Coalition. This is one model that has been used in Norway where every citizen’s tax return was available to be examined online. This would clearly outline whether pay gap exist base on merit and not a person's sex or race.
On March 6, 2018 the Transparency Act will help to close the Gender Pay Gap which has not been closed in more than 30 years. With this Bill, employers will know that "time's up on discrimination" according to Fay Faraday.
The Equal Pay Coalition calls for significant amendments to strengthen the Act and to bring it in line with employers’ legal obligation not to discriminate. Therefore asking that the Act be amended to address shortfalls such as matching it with that of the Pay Equity Act; compliance with equality rights; annual transparency reports with the MOL/ corporate shareholders are some of the measures the Coalition advances. Also to be included in the pay transparency report should be data on gender, job classification, wage grid and job status.
When we look at Gender Pay Gap we also must look at who is most affected and who is left in poverty. Direct sexism in the labour market is not the only factor that increases the gap—issues such as persistent racism and ableism must also be factored in. Indigenous women face a gender gap of 57 per cent. Racialized and immigrant women face a gap between 37 and 39 per cent. This is worse for women who have recently immigrated, who earn on average 57 per cent as compared to white men, and women with disabilities who face a 46 per cent pay gap.
According to the Equal Pay Coalition, Pay Transparency works if done properly. “The government had many international models to build on, but they choose to aim lower than the weakest existing model which is in the UK.”
OPSEU stands with the Equal Pay Coalition and with our allies in demanding that time's up on pay discrimination! We demand stronger laws to address the Gender Pay Gap. We say after 30 years, there has been not enough action, and no accountability. Don't you agree enough is enough?
Actions you can take on Equal Pay Day
Wear red to protest how unequal pay leaves women in the red!
Attend an Equal Pay Day Event
For more information http://equalpaycoalition.org/equal-pay-day/
Mobilize your MPP
Contact your Member of Provincial Parliament and tell them you want to see substantive action taken on this issue.
Download and print off the 12 Steps to Close the Gender Pay Gap by 2025 document.
Download and print off the Call to Action information flyer.