April 10, 2018 is Equal Pay Day

April 10, 2018 is Equal Pay Day

The date symbolizes how far into the year the average woman must work to earn what their male counterpart was paid in the last calendar year.

According to the Pay Equity Office, 54 per cent of employers still have gender pay gaps.  Although these gaps are contrary to the Pay Equity Act, they have existed for over 30 years.  Equal Pay Day will be celebrated on April 10, this year.

The day, which is recognized internationally, is dedicated to bringing attention to the issue of inequality and helps stimulate discussions and bring solutions forward to narrow the gender wage gap.  The date of Equal Pay Day is set annually, through discussions with stakeholders, other groups or in relation to the gender wage gap itself.  Stakeholders and community groups then schedule activities across the province to mark the day.  The Ontario Equal Pay Coalition says that they are celebrating Equal Pay Day on April 10, because on average, women have to work 15.5 months to make what a man does in just 12.

The gender pay gap is the driving force of women in poverty.  

Overall, the gender pay gap is at 31 per cent in Ontario, so this day is to remind us that there are still many women who are affected by the issue, and it helps highlight which areas need to be improved through research, innovative thinking and action.  There are many things that contribute to the gender pay gap. Some of which include, a women’s occupation, hours worked, disabilities, status and racial background to name a few.  

“I think it's important to highlight the intersectionality of Equal Pay Day.  If you are a woman and a racialized worker, indigenous worker, immigrant worker or worker with a disability - the gender pay gap increases significantly. All women deserve better.”  

-Shana Shipperbottom, Labour Program & Services Coordinator at United Way

All employers in Ontario are supposed to follow legal obligations to have discrimination-free pay since the ‘60s. However, this is still not happening.  On March 6, the Ontario government introduced a new Pay Transparency Act in hopes of taking a step forward in helping to close the gender pay gap.  The Ontario Equal Pay Coalition wants to enforce Pay Transparency, which would require employers to disclose their wages to prove that they are compliant with the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Pay Equity Act. This Act is important to them because they say that the lack of pay transparency is what feeds the pay gap itself.  The Ontario Equal Pay Coalition says that the Pay Transparency Act conditions will apply to the Ontario Public Service first. Following the consultation, the Act will apply to employers who have over 500 employees and then to those who have around 250.  The main goal of the Act is to require employers to advertise their salary range, have anti-reprisal protections and prohibit people from asking about any prior salaries.  

According to an article by the Toronto Sun, the proposed legislation is part of the government’s strategy to strengthen women’s economic empowerment.

Today, you can join the conversation on social media by using #EqualPayDay.  

To learn more about the new Pay Transparency Act and view all of the new proposed amendments go to Equal Pay Transparency Act

Statistics from the Ontario Equal Pay Coalition

  • Indigenous women face a 57 per cent gender pay gap.
  • Racialized and immigrant women face a gap of 37 per cent to 39 per cent.
  • Women who are recent immigrants earn, on average, 57 per cent as much as a white male.
  • Women with disabilities face a 46 per cent pay gap.