Ontario Equal Pay Day 2017

Today is Equal Pay Day in Ontario. This is a day dedicated to bringing attention to the wage gap between working women and working men in Canada.

As of 2013 (the last time data was available) the wage gap in Canada sits at 30%. This means that for every $1 a working Canadian man earns, a working Canadian woman earns $0.70.

Equal Pay Day was created to draw attention to this gap and encourage us to work with our communities and our politicians to take action to close the gender wage gap.

The Equal Pay Coalition is a coalition created to raise awareness and end the gender pay gap in Canada. You can find more information about the pay gap and Equal Pay Day events on their website here:  http://equalpaycoalition.org/

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What contributes to the wage gap?

The wage gap is based on a systematic pattern of undervaluing women’s workplace skills despite women, on average, being higher educated, entering into new occupations, and increasing their labour force participation.

Other driving factors in this inequality include:

  • Fragmentation of the workplace
  • Declining equality role of governments
  • Decline of unionization
  • Impact of unequal households and unpaid care obligations

How is the Wage Gap Calculated?

The wage gap is calculated in 3 ways:

  1. Average Annual Earnings: this calculates all women’s and men’s earnings including contract and part-time workers
  2. Full-time, Full-year Average Annual Earnings: accounts for only full-time earnings
  3. Hourly Wage: calculated by comparing women’s and men’s average hourly wage

Based on these calculations the pay gap sits at 30% with a higher gap when accounting for intersectionality with other discrimination including:

  • Racialized women
  • Indigenous women
  • Immigrant and migrant women
  • Women with disabilities
  • Elderly women
  • Women who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer (LGBTQ)

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Why Celebrate Equal Pay Day Today?

April was chosen for Equal Pay Day because women in Ontario that work full-time have to work roughly 3 1/2 months into this year to catch up to how much a man has earned by the end of the previous year.

What Can I do to Help Close the Wage Gap?

The Ontario Equal Pay Coalition offers ‘12 Steps to Closing the Gap, they are:

  1. Treat closing the gap as a human rights priority
  2. Raise awareness through annual Equal Pay Days and education
  3. Develop a ‘close the gender gap by 2025’ plan
  4. Enforce and expand pay equity laws
  5. Implement employment equity law and policies
  6. Promote access to collective bargaining
  7. Increase the minimum wage
  8. Provide affordable and accessible child care
  9. Mainstream equity compliance into government laws and policies
  10. Mainstream equity compliance into workplaces and businesses
  11. End violence and harassment of women
  12. Secure decent work for women across the economic spectrum

The Equal Pay Coalition also offers a variety of options for taking action on their website and you can take part in Equal Pay Day events here.