Canada’s unions mark Equal Pay Day with a call for pay equity implementation now

April 9, 2019

April 9, 2019 marks Equal Pay Day in Ontario, the date recognized as the amount of time it takes for women’s wages to catch up to men’s wages in 2018. Nationally, Equal Pay Day is an opportunity to educate communities across Canada on the realities of the gender wage gap and its negative economic impacts on women, especially women with multiple and intersecting identities.

“Today, in 2019, the numbers are appalling,” says Marie Clarke Walker, Secretary-Treasurer of the Canadian Labour Congress, “Women overall are making 32 percent less than men, with Indigenous women and women with disabilities facing the steepest gender pay gaps making between 45 and 56 percent less.”

This Equal Pay Day, under the banner of the #DoneWaiting campaign, Canada’s unions are calling for the timely and effective implementation of Canada’s new pay equity legislation.

This year is especially important, as this is the first Equal Pay Day since the introduction of federal pay equity legislation in December 2018.

“Fourteen years after the Pay Equity Task Force report, pay equity finally became the law,” said Marie Clarke Walker. “However, our wait is not yet over. Since the new law does not take effect until regulations are developed, it could be another few years before working women see any real difference in our paycheques.”

In addition, trade unions and pay equity experts have identified a number of concerns with the bill that did not get fixed before it passed. Therefore, the Canadian Labour Congress is calling on the federal government to:

  • Work with unions and employers to develop pay equity regulations in a timely fashion;
  • Ensure the regulations close any loopholes that would allow an employer to avoid meeting their obligations;
  • Introduce pay transparency measures, including an obligation to file pay equity plans as well as details about compensation for workers in all equity-seeking groups; and
  • Ensure the office of the Pay Equity Commissioner has enough funding to implement the legislation and hold employers accountable.

The CLC encourages all workers to write to their Member of Parliament today and join the call for the full implementation of pay equity legislation from coast to coast.

The CLC also supports calls from the Equal Pay Coalition of Ontario and the Ontario Federation of Labour to mount a provincial campaign calling on Members of Provincial Parliament to implement the 2018 Pay Transparency Act. You can learn more about this campaign here.

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