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.

Related Articles

When government, employers & unions take domestic violence seriously

By Hassan Yussuff, Derrick Hynes, and the Hon. Patty Hajdu In the four years since the release of the first-ever pan-Canadian study on the impact of domestic violence at work, unions, employers and governments have embarked on a remarkable joint project to help protect jobs and promote workplace safety. We now have a common understanding of the magnitude of this…
Read More

International Women’s Day: #DoneWaiting for equality in the workplace

Canada’s Unions are marking International Women’s Day in 2019 with a bold message on the future of women and work: women are #DoneWaiting for fairness at work. It’s time to expose what it’s like #BeingAWomanAtWork and demand changes to help make workplaces and working life better for women. #DoneWaiting is a campaign for women’s economic justice. Launched one year ago, the campaign…
Read More

Why Canada’s unions are highlighting environmental racism during Black History Month

Environmental racism is the development and implementation of environmental policy on issues such as toxic waste disposal sites, pollution, and urban decay in areas with a significant ethnic or racial population. Believe it or not, Canada is not immune to these policies. This Black History Month, Canada’s unions say there can be no environmental justice without racial justice: addressing anti-Black…
Read More