Women’s wages shouldn’t come at a discount, but the gender pay gap in Canada hasn’t improved in decades. In fact, for many women it’s getting worse.
This is about economic justice for women
Women in Canada are being paid less than men for work of equal value. It’s happening to women no matter what their level of education or whether they work full or part-time. This wage discrimination exists because work traditionally dominated by women – like work in the caring professions – has always been undervalued compared to work traditionally dominated by men. The result? Women are making less over their working lives, and are more likely to live in poverty, and end up retiring into poverty.
Wage discrimination is real
The numbers don’t lie, and they are appalling. Today – in 2018 – women overall make 32 percent less than men. However, the gender gap is even wider for some. Here’s how, on average, different women fare compared to white men born in Canada:
- Racialized women make 40 percent less.
- Indigenous women make 45 percent less.
- Immigrant women make 55 percent less.
- Women with a disability make 56 percent less.
In 2004, a national Pay Equity Task Force laid out the path for a proactive approach to ending wage discrimination against women in Canada. Yet 14 years later, we’re still stuck with a complaints-driven process that relies on too many separate parts of our legislative system, including the Canadian Human Rights Act, the Canadian Constitution, and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This has left women waiting decades for justice.
We can end wage discrimination
It doesn’t have to be this way. Making pay equity the law would ensure different jobs are compared for their value in the workplace and evaluated based on skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions, leaving no room for gender discrimination.
In February 2018, the federal government promised pay equity legislation was coming. Let's make sure that that legislation follows the recommendations of the 2004 Pay Equity Task Force and:
- Recognizes that pay equity is a human right.
- Covers all workers in the federal jurisdiction.
- Promotes pay transparency and proactive accountability.
- Closes wage gaps and ensures employers are accountable for implementing and maintaining pay equity.
- Gives unions an active role in developing and enforcing pay equity.
- Establishes an independent Pay Equity Commission and Hearings Tribunal to help implement the legislation, resolve disputes, and educate the public.
Canadian women are done waiting for pay equity. It’s time to value women’s work, close the pay gap and make pay equity the law. Add your voice now.