Ontario’s gender pay gap is a human rights crisis. Canada’s latest Census shows Ontario women on average
make 71 cents for every dollar a man makes – they face a 29% gender pay gap.
But this ‘average’ figure does not capture the depth of the human rights and economic crisis working women
experience in Ontario. For Indigenous women, the gap is 43%. Racialized women face a gap of 38%; immigrant
women face a 34% gap. Meanwhile the government’s own statistics show Ontario’s economy is losing $18 billion
each year due to the gender pay gap.
April 10, 2018 marks Equal Pay Day, the day when women and men around the province recognize the pay gap
between working women and men, and call for planning and action to redress such pay inequity. It’s a day which
signifies the 15 months (on average), a woman must work to earn what a man earned the previous year.
The rights of women to equal pay for work of equal value and equal treatment in pay and employment
opportunities are internationally recognized human rights standards. However, the problem persists. We still do
not have enough affordable and accessible child care. Many sectors of the economy are female dominated,
particularly those providing public services like health care, community and home care services, child care and
long-term care. Women in these jobs face pay discrimination because their sector is underpaid compared to
Girls Incorporated of Upper Canada offers programs that provide girls with real-world knowledge about money,
wealth, power, and independence. We engage girls in understanding economic realities, advocating for
economic justice, and investing their own resources to benefit their communities. We support efforts to secure
living wages and benefits for every full-time worker, and we support increased compensation for the “caring and
helping” professions that are so often filled by girls and women. We work to recognize and value the unpaid
work, most often performed by women and girls, that is vital to a functioning society. Most importantly, we support
equal pay for work of comparable value, regardless of gender.
Every girl growing up today must plan toward and achieve economic self-sufficiency. The full and equal
participation of girls and women in the economy and in establishing economic policy is vital to a just society. At
the rate we are going, the gender pay gap will take more than half a century to close. We cannot wait that long!