Monday, September 17

Equal Pay Coalition Election Action to Close Ont's Gender Pay Gap

It's time to end pay discrimination for all Ontario women regardless of where they work. With the gender pay gap still at 29%, many women electors continue to receive less pay for their "women's work" than men do for comparable work. That is why the Equal Pay Coalition is launching this week its province-wide Campaign. The Coalition aims to ensure that the gender pay gap is not forgotten in election debates, meetings and canvassing.

The Ontario government committed to legislate a pay equity law in 1985, stating then that "the achievement of equal opportunity and social justice for all Ontarians is a fundamental and unalterable commitment of the Ontario government." (Green Paper, 1985). In 1988, the Pay Equity Act was passed.

What about today? This coming year marks the 20th anniversary of pay equity in Ontario. It is necessary to recommit and take action to ensure the Government's promise of pay equity is kept. The work of women is critical to the economic success of Ontario's public and private sectors. Yet employers including the Government refuse to pay women fairly for that work.
Women on average still earn only 71% of what men earn - leaving a 29% pay gap.

Some gains have been made. Many women, most unionized and in the public sector, received significant pay equity adjustments back in the 1990's which closed the pay equity gap at that time. As a result of two Charter challenges started in 1996 and 2001 women in predominantly female public sector workplaces received hundreds of millions of dollars to start the pay equity adjustments which were owing to them. But many of the original pay gaps have now widened with all the changes to the Ontario economy since that time. For Aboriginal women, women of colour, older women, immigrant women and women in low-pay jobs, the discriminatory gender pay gap is even greater to start with and most work in sectors not yet affected by the law's enforcement.

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