Saturday, December 9

Two minute Action on Pay Equity

The conservatives have refused to introduce proactive pay equity despite expert recommendations

What you can do today:

Let the federal government and your MP know that Canadian women need a new pay equity law, based on the Pay Equity Task Force recommendations.

What does the absence of pay equity legislation mean for women?

In September, the federal government announced that it will not introduce a new pay equity law. This is a bad decision for women. It is a giant step backwards on the question of equal pay for work of equal value.

  • Women still earn less than men regardless of their occupation, age or education. There is a wage gap in Canada. According to Statistics Canada most report on women, on average, women working full-time full-year earn 72 cents for every dollar a full-time full-year male worker earns.

  • The wage gap is not the result of lower educational levels. Women with university degrees still earn 74% of what university educated men earn. Women earn less than men working the same sectors or even in the same jobs. Except for babysitters and nannies, there are no occupations in which women’s average earnings exceed men’s. Canada has one of the largest wage gap out of the world’s 29 most developed countries - only Spain, Portugal, Japan and Korea have larger wage gaps.

  • This wage gap persists despite the fact that in the federal sector, for almost 30 years, equal pay for work of equal value has been the law, as part of the Canadian Human Rights Act — and it clearly doesn’t work.

  • In 2001 the government established the Pay Equity Task Force. After extensive consultation and research they recommended a new proactive pay equity law in May 2004. Employers, unions and women’s groups all agreed that a new effective, accessible law which requires positive employer action, provides clear standards and allows access to an expert independent adjudicative body is needed.

  • Proactive pay equity law is not a new or radical concept in the Canadian context. Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick all introduced such legislation for their public sector in the early 80s. Ontario and Quebec both have proactive laws covering both the public and private sectors. In all these jurisdictions, these laws have been more effective that the current federal complaint based model.

  • We need government action that will bring Canada’s pay equity regime into line with its national and international human rights commitments. We need government action that recognizes the contribution women employees make to our economy. The Conservative government is saying that women will just have to live with a status quo that doesn’t work. They want us to rely on education, more mediation and wage rate inspections. All of these initiatives have repeatedly proven inadequate

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