Equal Pay Day in Canada

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Gender Wage Gap in Canada

The gender wage gap in Canada stays at about 26.5 per cent. Thus, Canada and the US reveal a relatively high gender pay gap in comparison to most European countries.

It should be noted that generally the gender wage gap is measured in Canada. This measure, also applied by the International Labour Organisation, covers not only the general salary an employee earns, but also emcompasses all other monetary and non-monetary components of a wage an employee may earn. This also includes components, such as company cars, PCs, cell phones, or tax benefits.

Equal Pay Day in Canada

The Equal Pay Day in Canada is organised by the Equal Pay Coalition, founded already in 1976. The aim of the coalition is to enforce equal pay through legislation and collective bargaining. Members of the Coalition are - among others - women's networks, various trade unions as well as a broad range of NGOs.

In 2015, the EPD has been celebrated on April 20, yet, each region celebrates its own EPD, as the GPG figures vary across the regions. Ontario as an example has a GPG of 26 per cent (2016). Other states, such as Calgary, face a gap of 29 per cent.

In 2016, the Equal Pay Day has been moved by one day and was held at April 19, 2016.

In 2017, the Equal Pay Day is on April 11. The topic of CSW61 "Economic Empowerment of Women in a Changing World of Work" ist theme of the campaign. In Ontario, the Equal Pay Day Coalition held various events and demonstrations combined with a large social media campaign. In addition, the Pay Equity Commission was a sponsor of the UN Global Compact Network Conference and delivered speeches during various other events.

In 2018, the Equal Pay Day has been held on April 10. Various activities have taken place across the country accompanied by social media activities. #ShowUsTheMoney

In 2019 the Equal Pay Day has been held on April 9. The Equal Pay Day was taken as an opportunity to visit eight Ministers’ offices to hear their plans to close the gender pay gap. #CloseTheGap and #PayTransparency

The activities on the Equal Pay Day range from spreading information on equal pay, wearing red clothes and bags and demonstrations. As the Equal Pay Day falls close to the International Women's Day and the yearly meetings of the Conference on the Status of Women in New York, various activities have been held in New York City, NY, USA, such as side events during the conference.

Pay Equity Act (Ontario)

Already in 1988 (with a revised version in 1990), the Pay Equity Act has been decided upon and implemented in Ontario. The law provides that employers have to prove that paying employees differently does not correlate to gender. Furthermore, each job can be compared using the four measures skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions. Employers have the duty to compare their job profiles and requirements with various tools in order to detect pay inequities.

The Pay Equity Act also established a Pay Equity Commission being responsible for monitoring the processes, educating, providing material and investigating on cases of unequal pay.

Since the Pay Equity Act has been implemented, the GPG fell from 31.5 per cent to 26 per cent in Ontario. Thus, the act shows signs of success, yet major obstacles remain. These are mainly related to remaining gender stereotypes, especially in relation to bread-winner-models as well as house and care work. In addition, business leaders often remain reluctant to change outdate business practices that hinder women from moving up the career ladder.

Related Links

Pay Equity Commissio Ontario

Equal Pay Coalition

BPW Canada

Canadian Women's Foundation: Equal Pay Day 2019 in Canada

You are worth it! Compensation Pitfalls and how to Manage them

BPW Ontario

BPW Ontario: Equal Pay Actionkit

BPW Calgary

Moyser, M. (2017). Women in Canada: A Gender-based Statistical Report

Status of Women Canada