We’re seeing red because women are still in the red

Equal pay sign next to gavel

It’s ridiculous that we’re in 2019 and women have yet to achieve gender parity. It’s even more ridiculous that we have a provincial government that seems hell bent on keeping it that way.

With women in Ontario currently making an average of 77 cents per man’s dollar, it takes about 16 months for women to earn the same amount of money that only takes a year for a man to earn. That’s why Equal Pay Day is on April 9th – because it has taken women, on average, until April 9th of this year to earn what it took the average man to earn in 2018.

Sadly, things will likely not change in 2019 as it wasn’t a Happy New Year for advances in pay equity in Ontario. The Ford government cancelled the January 1st increase of the minimum wage to $15. With women being over represented in low-paying jobs, stalling minimum wage hikes will affect them in far larger numbers.

At this time last year, we were celebrating a major victory for equal pay when the previous Liberal government passed the Pay Transparency Act, which allows employees to know what their workplace pay structure is so they can speak up for equal pay. The Pay Transparency Act was of particular importance mostly in non-unionized workplaces where discussing pay information among employees can result in being disciplined or fired.

In November, Ford indefinitely shelved the Pay Transparency Act, which was to take effect on January 1st. Instead, he is leaving implementation up to a day of the lieutenant governor’s choosing. No one knows when that day will come.

OPSEU is a proud member of the Ontario Equal Pay Coalition, which is made up of women’s groups, business leaders, community organizations and other unions.

Here are some ways in which you can get involved in helping women earn the pay they deserve because economic justice for women is economic justice for all:

  • Join us at our Equal Pay Day rally on April 9th in Toronto at 400 University Avenue from 10:30a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • Wear red, which is the colour of Equal Pay Day. Red is the symbolic colour of women still being “in the red” when it comes to pay equity.
  • Contact the Ontario government and send a message that women earning less than men in 2019 is unacceptable.
  • Follow the Equal Pay Coalition on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube and help spread the word.
  • Talk to your colleagues, your neighbors and communities about Equal Pay

President Warren (Smokey) Thomas

First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida