Equal Pay Day: More action urged on closing gender pay gap
A rally was held in downtown Toronto to mark Equal Pay Day on Tuesday, April 9, 2019.
The gender pay gap facing Canadian workers was highlighted Tuesday as rallies were held across Ontario to mark Equal Pay Day.
According to the Equal Pay Coalition, Tuesday was the day the average female worker’s earnings since Jan. 1, 2018 matched the average male worker’s earnings for the 2018 calendar year.
The date was calculated based on 2016 census data, which showed a 29.3 per cent gender wage gap in Ontario.
“Women don’t bear the burden of the pay gap equally,” coalition co-chair Fay Faraday told CP24 while at a rally in downtown Toronto.
“For women with disabilities, the pay gap is 46 per cent. For Indigenous women, it’s 43 per cent. For racialized women, it’s 38 per cent, and for immigrant women, it’s 34 per cent.”
Statistics Canada prefers to use a gender wage gap calculation based on average hourly pay rates for full-time workers, arguing other methods don’t account for parents who choose to work fewer hours due to family responsibilities and other outside-the-office factors. Using those numbers, it says the gap is about 13 per cent, with women earning 88.5 cents for every dollar men make.
People at the Toronto demonstration called on the Ontario government to take “very concrete” actions including raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, mandating equal pay for part-time workers and implementing pay transparency legislation to force employers to disclose their employees’ salaries.
These changes were all in the works, but were put on hold last year following the election of a Progressive Conservative government under Premier Doug Ford.
Federal Employment, Workforce Development and Labour Minister Patty Hajdu said Tuesday that the federal government is planning to bring in pay transparency measures for companies in federally regulated sectors.
“When Canadian women can count on equal pay for equal work of equal value, our economy grows stronger, families prosper and communities thrive,” she said in a statement.