Canada’s most populous province has pledged to immediately start work on closing the pay gap after a specialist committee released its definitive report on the issue.
The Gender Wage Gap Steering Committee’s final analysis was made public yesterday and the Ontario government swiftly promised to create equal opportunities and eliminate barriers that prevent women's from fully participating in the workforce.
"Building on the progress we’ve already made, we know we can take action to improve women's economic opportunities and break down barriers that prevent full participation by women in the labour force,” said labour minister Kevin Flynn. “This report will help us do just that.”
As a first step toward closing the gender wage gap, Ontario is moving forward with recommendations by:
- Increasing income transparency in the Ontario Public Service by making salary data publicly available by gender
- Requiring gender-based analysis in the government policy process
- Appointing an Associate Minister of Education, Responsible for Early Years and Child Care to build a system of affordable, accessible and high-quality early years and child care programs
- Providing employers with resources including training materials on anti-discrimination and developing other education products for employees
“When we create the opportunity for women to have economic security, we create prosperity for all workers and their families,” said Flynn. “We need to close the gender wage gap. It’s the right thing to do, and I look forward to moving forward with this important work.”
Based on the most recent data from Statistics Canada, the gender wage gap in Ontario currently ranges from 14 to 26 per cent – the gap is even more pronounced for racial minorities and those with a disability.
"Despite our participation in all parts of the workforce, there are still barriers that prevent women from achieving their economic potential,” said Tracy MacCharles, minister responsible for women’s issues and accessibility.
“That negatively affects Ontario’s prosperity,” she continued. “When we are all treated equitably, we all benefit.”
The 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.
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