After 15 years, Wynne Liberals still dragging their feet on pay equity

Queen's Park, April 10, 2018 - As thousands gather across the province to mark Equal Pay Day 2018, Ontario NDP women’s issues critic, Peggy Sattler, called on the Liberal premier to take immediate, meaningful steps to close the gender wage gap instead of opposing women who are fighting for equal pay. Sattler urged the government to show leadership and settle its ongoing legal battle against midwives and others at the Human Rights Tribunal. She also highlighted the lack of progress on pay equity in the female-dominated community and social service sectors.

“Speaker, the Premier knows that front-line workers in the community and social services sector are overwhelmingly female,” said Sattler. “These workers deliver important public services to Ontarians – in nursing homes, in developmental services, in other community agencies – but typically earn $3 to $8 less per hour than their comparators in hospitals and municipalities.”

Equal pay legislation first passed at the Ontario legislature over 30 years ago. Sattler explained that women across Ontario are wearing red to signify how far into the next year women must work to earn what men earned the previous year.

“These workers have been waiting decades to achieve pay equity. It didn’t happen when the Conservatives were in government and it certainly hasn’t happened during 15 years of Liberal government,” said Sattler.

Ensuring access childcare is recognized as a key strategy to close the gender wage gap. Yet, under the Liberal government’s 15 year tenure, childcare in Ontario has become the most expensive in the country, and its recent child care plan ignores women who need infant care to return to work. Ontario New Democrats’ have committed to ensuring all public child-care funding supports public and not-for-profit child-care operators, as well as funding the Pay Equity Commission and immediately implementing the Equal Pay Coalition’s 12 recommendations to close the gender pay gap.

“Will the Premier show women the money? Will she agree to fund pay equity wages for the women who work in community and social service agencies?” asked Sattler.