Ontario to tackle gender wage gap

Posted on October 2, 2014 in Equality Policy Context

TheStar.com – News/Queenspark – Kathleen Wynne orders Ontario’s labour minister to draft a plan to close the wage gap between men and women.
Oct 01 2014.   By: Laurie Monsebraaten, Social justice reporter

Ontario Labour Minister Kevin Flynn has been ordered to develop a strategy to close the 31.5 per cent wage gap between men and women in the province.

In her recent mandate letter to Flynn, Premier Kathleen Wynne notes that “women make up an integral part of our economy and society, but on average still do not earn as much as men.

“You will work with the minister responsible for women’s issues and other ministers to develop a wage gap strategy that will close the gap between men and women in the context of the 21st century economy,” the letter says.

According to the latest available data, women earned an average of $33,600 in 2011 while men earned $49,000.

Equal pay advocates, who have been calling for a provincial strategy similar to Ontario’s anti-poverty and accessibility plans, are thrilled Wynne has highlighted the issue as a government priority.

“Nothing really happens unless you have a plan and you require people to take certain steps across ministries,” said human rights and labour lawyer Mary Cornish, who heads the Equal Pay Coalition.

Under Cornish’s leadership, the coalition was instrumental in pushing Ontario to pass the Pay Equity Act in 1987 when the gender wage gap was 38 per cent.

“It is exciting to get this in a mandate letter with such strong wording,” Cornish said.

It is also “a fairly big deal” that Wynne’s mandate letter to Women’s Minister Tracy MacCharles directs her to work with her Cabinet colleagues to bring a gender lens to all government strategy, programs and policy, she added.

The coalition has asked Flynn and MacCharles for a meeting this month to begin developing the strategy.

< http://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2014/10/01/ontario_to_tackle_gender_wage_gap.html >

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One Response to “Ontario to tackle gender wage gap”

  1. Kathleen Wynne gave orders to the labour minister to draft a strategic plan with the Women’s Minister to close the wage gap between men and women. Although a great first step, Wynne’s orders are vague. According to a new study released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), there is a significant difference in the wage gap between minority and aboriginal women and men. The gap among minority women is significantly higher than white women; will Wynne’s strategy address both gaps?

    There are safeguards in place that significantly limit the gender wage gap in the public sphere. Unions and the ability to participate in collective bargaining as well as benefits such as family and sick leave are available to all public sector workers. These programs reduce the wage gap for women working in the public sector, but there is still a gap. To address this gap, the CCPA recommends paying the women more, and keeping men’s wages the same.

    In a neoliberal political context, the likelihood of the Wynne government moving forward with CCPA’s recommendations are slim to none given it will cost the public realm and therefore impact the economy. Therefore, the likelihood of the Liberal government addressing the wage gap among female minority populations is also likely never going to happen. One could argue investing in women is investing in the economy, but the neoliberal agenda is somewhat like a small child; instant gratification is the key.

    M. Bragg


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