Ontario Receives Public Input on the Gender Wage Gap Strategy
Province Taking Action to Close the Gap and Help Women Reach Their Full Potential
The province has received thousands of ideas from Ontarians throughout the province about how to address the gender wage gap in Ontario after 18 weeks of engaging with the public in-person, online, and in writing.
Today, Ontario's Gender Wage Gap Steering Committee presented Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn and Minister Responsible for Women's Issues Tracy MacCharles with a summary report of what they have heard.
The steering committee held public and stakeholder meetings across the province last fall and winter and will report back later this year with recommendations that will help shape the province's Gender Wage Gap Strategy.
To level the playing field in the workplace, over the past year Ontario has also:
- Implemented the "comply or explain" regulation requiring companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange to report publicly on their approach to increase the number of women on their boards and in executive officer positions
- Increased wages by up to $2 per hour plus benefits for early childhood educators and other child care professionals in a licensed child care setting and increased wages for home child care providers working with licensed home child care agencies to up to $20 per day
- Increased the hourly wages of personal support workers and set a new minimum base wage of $16.50 per hour for the home and community care sector in 2016/17
- Announced $120 million over three years in new funding dedicated to building 4,000 safe, high-quality, new licensed child care spaces in schools across the province. The province has already allocated more than $80 million of this funding resulting in 2,901 new licensed child care spaces coming to communities across Ontario
- Helped low-income women learn new skills, change careers and secure better paying jobs through the Women in Skilled Trades and Information Technology Training program
- Helped women grow and build their own business by providing financial literacy training, entrepreneurial mentoring and skills development through the Microlending for Women in Ontario Program
- Helped women who have experienced abuse or are at risk of abuse to develop new skills, find employment and achieve economic security through the Employment Training for Abused and At-Risk Women program
Closing the wage gap between men and women and leveling the playing field is part of the government's economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in talents and skills, including helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history and investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented business.
- The steering committee held consultations from October 26, 2015 to February 29, 2016: 530 people attended public town hall sessions, 1,430 participated through an online survey and 170 stakeholders participated through meetings or written submissions.
- This year Equal Pay Day is on April 19, 2016 to raise awareness of the earnings gap between men and women in Ontario. The day is calculated each year to mark the extra time it takes a woman to earn as much as a man. Men in Ontario earned an average of $50,000 while it took women until April 20 the following year to earn the same amount.
- Based on the most recent Statistics Canada data, Ontario’s gender wage gap ranges from 14 to 32 per cent. The gap is more pronounced for Aboriginal and racialized women and those with disabilities.
- Royal Bank of Canada estimates that personal incomes would be $168 billion higher each year if women in Canada had the same labour market opportunities as men.
- Only 20.8 per cent of board members on the top 60 companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange/Standard & Poor’s index are women.
- According to Statistics Canada (2011), the gender wage gap in Ontario is 26 per cent for full-time, full year workers. This means that for every dollar earned by a male worker, a female worker earns 74 cents.
“Equal Pay Day is calculated each year to mark the extra time it takes a woman to earn as much as a man. It is unacceptable that women still don’t get paid as well as or have the same opportunities as men, and we need to change that by demolishing the barriers to success that have been holding women back.”
“It’s sobering in this day and age that we still need to bring attention to the fact that women, on average, earn less than men throughout their working lives. We must close the gender wage gap for the well-being of Ontario, we must do it for women and their families, and we must do it for future generations so that they can continue to build a prosperous and equitable province.”