Equal Pay Coalition


September 14, 2011 07:00 ET

Equal Pay Coalition and Leadnow.ca Launch Campaign for a FAIR Ontario-Looking to Party Leaders for Answers

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 14, 2011) - The Equal Pay Coalition and Leadnow.ca launched their provincial election campaign today with the release of their new campaign website at: http://www.fairontario.ca and their first of three election videos. You can follow the new campaign on Facebook and Twitter.

Despite the historic gain of pay equity legislation 23 years ago, Ontario women working full-time for the full year make on average an astonishing 29% less than men. Ontario has one of the highest pay gaps in the world. Ontario's gender pay gap increases substantially when other forms of discrimination exist as well - Racialized women earn 36% less than men and aboriginal women earn 54% less. Women with disabilities also suffer greater pay gaps.

While Ontario women are now 60% of post-secondary graduates, this investment in their careers to get better jobs is not paying off. Women working full-time full-year with a university degree earned about 30% less than equally educated men. At all levels of education and in all occupational categories, women are paid less than men.

Many party leaders have discussed the need for good quality job creation, but none have addressed the pay gap or the ways labour market dynamics contribute to that gap. Most of the 29% gap is caused by prejudice and discrimination that follows women throughout their lives - reducing lifetime earnings. 7 out of 10 part-time workers are women and they are the majority of multiple job workers. Lack of accessible child care and barriers to getting full time jobs commensurate with abilities and education also contributes to the gap.

"Closing the pay gap is good for Ontario's economy, resulting in increased productivity, a healthy economy and a reduction in child, family and elder poverty. Paying women equally is not only fair, it is the law. Ontarians deserve strong leadership on this issue. A FAIR plan would work to close the 29% gender pay gap by 5% to 24% by 2015," said Mary Cornish, chair of the Equal Pay Coalition. "Ontarians are not looking for empty promises, but a comprehensive plan that is FAIR - Funded, Accountable, Integrated and Real," said Jamie Biggar, Executive Director, LeadNow.ca.

The Equal Pay Coalition sent letters to all four party leaders asking for their plan to create a FAIR Ontario by reducing the pay gap. Campaign supporters across the province are being asked to send an email to their local candidates as well as all the party leaders to support the Coalition's FAIR plan. See attached Backgrounder and to view the campaign video and http://www.fairontario.ca to read more details about what a FAIR plan is.


A FAIR plan to close Ontario's 29% Gender Pay Gap is:

F - Funded - meets the Government's obligation to use its resources to enforce women's human right to pay equity. This includes funding enforcement measures and providing the funding to ensure employers of women providing Ontario's public services close the pay equity gaps in their workplaces.

A - Accountable - sets out the steps in a comprehensive province-wide plan detailing responsibilities for implementation and monitoring. This includes levelling the playing field for private sector employers by ensuring employers in all areas of the economy from retail to financial are required to play by the rules and pay fair.

I - Integrated - includes complementary strategies which both raise women's pay and a provide women with access to higher paying jobs. For example: restoring Ontario's employment equity laws which require employers to provide equal opportunities to women and disadvantaged groups; screening public policies and laws to make sure they are closing not widening the pay gap; and increasing the minimum wage to a living wage as a pay equity down payment for women workers.

R - Real - sets clear timeframes for closing the 29% pay gap, starting with a commitment to close the gap by 5 percentage points to 24% by 2015--the end of the upcoming legislative term.

Further reading: http://www.equalpaycoalition.org/what_is.php

The Equal Pay Coalition was formed in 1976 as a coalition of organizations to seek the implementation of equal pay for work of equal value both through legislation and collective bargaining. The Coalition has over 39 constituent and partner groups which represent Ontario women and men who support equal pay for work of equal value. Some of our member groups include: The Ontario Federation of Labour, the YWCA Toronto, the Ontario Secondary Schools Teachers Federation, the Elementary Schools Teachers Federation, the Ontario Coalition for Social Justice and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. For full list see http://www.equalpaycoalition.org/about-us/

LeadNow.ca is an independent multi-partisan advocacy organization that brings generations of Canadians to work together to build a stronger democracy that protects our environment, creates economic opportunity while increasing equality, and guarantees that everyone receives the care they need. Founded in 2010 by a group of young people, it is working to build an independent community to help set the political agenda, take effective action on important issues, and shift elections.

Contact Information

  • Equal Pay Coalition
    Mary Cornish

    Jamie Biggar
    Executive Director

    Equal Pay Coalition
    Katie Arnup
    Campaign Coordinator