Underfunding and privatizing essential public services keeps the gender pay gap stuck at 32%


TORONTO, April 15, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Women in Ontario are marking Equal Pay Day on 16 April 2024 because, on average, they need to work 15.5 months – 3.5 extra months into 2024 – to earn what Ontario men, on average, earned in 2023. Recognized globally, Equal Pay Day is a non-partisan day of international action calling on government leaders to advance women's economic equality.

“The average annual gender pay gap has been stuck at 32% for three decades,” says Fay Faraday, Equal Pay Coalition co-chair. “But that’s just the average. It doesn’t reflect the reality that Indigenous, Black and racialized women face the greatest pay discrimination.”

The government’s own pay equity watchdog, the Pay Equity Commission, reports that the gender pay gap for racialized women is 38%; for First Nations, Inuit and Black women the gap is 42%; and for women with disabilities the gap is 43%. Arab women are the lowest paid in Ontario’s labour market and face a 47% gender pay gap.

Underfunding and privatizing the vital public services that are overwhelmingly delivered by women, is a key driver of the gender pay gap. Since 2018, Ontario’s inflated-adjusted per capita support for community and social services in Ontario has been cut by 12.1%. At the same time, Ontario has implemented fee and tax cuts that reduce public revenue by more than $8.2 billion per year.

“As of 2022, Ontario has spent less money on public services than any other province in the country and there was no relief in last month’s budget,” says Coalition co-chair Jan Borowy. “Ontario needs to stop making women carry the economy through their underpaid and unpaid labour. Discrimination-free pay is not a frill; it is a fundamental human right.”

“On Equal Pay Day,” says Faraday, “the Coalition is calling on Ontario to stop its campaign of privatization and commit to funding the vital public services that women deliver – healthcare, childcare, community and social services, education – at the level that meets community needs and that closes the gender pay gap for all women now.”

On April 16, 2024, check out the Equal Pay Coalition’s new videos with the voices of Personal Support Workers from the frontlines of the crisis in care work. Equalpaycoalition.org

Since 1976, the non-partisan Equal Pay Coalition has been the main advocate for women’s pay equity in Ontario. The Coalition unites more than 40 women’s groups, trade unions, community groups and business organizations representing hundreds of thousands of women right across the province.

For more information, please contact: Fay Faraday co-chair, Equal Pay Coalition: 416-389-4399 or Jan Borowy, co-chair, Equal Pay Coalition, 416-985-2069