Following the celebration of Equal Pay Day earlier this week, Premier Kathleen Wynne has announced a new scheme which will aim to promote women's economic empowerment and close the gender wage gap.
Wynne claims that a new initiative will highlight the government’s plan to create free preschool care, which should go some way in closing the gender wage gulf.
Currently in Ontario, women earn around 30% less than men. However, the new plan will offer licensed childcare for children aged between two-and-a-half up to kindergarten age. This essentially means that mothers will have more options on returning to work, whilst simultaneously alleviating any financial worries.
“If you want an economy that is fairer to women, government needs to be a driving force,” explained Wynne. “And the fact that women still make nearly a third less on average than men in Ontario isn’t just unfair to hard-working women all over this province — it’s bad for our economy.
“We are taking serious actions to close the gender wage gap. The single most effective thing we can do as a government is increase access to child care, so we are creating free preschool child care. That will make it easier for women to go back to work when they choose.”
A report from the OECD found that increasing access to childcare is the number one way to improve women’s participation in the company.
In Ontario, the gender wage gap has remained stagnant for the last decade, with the majority of workers earning less than the minimum wage being women.
“These actions build on our Women’s Economic Empowerment Strategy, which seeks to increase pay transparency, help more women entrepreneurs get ahead and address the additional barriers that too many women still face,” continued Wynne.
“It’s been 30 years since Ontario first passed pay equity legislation. It’s time to close the gap for good.”