The Gender Wage Gap Strategy In The News

The Ontario Pay Equity Commission will continue to host consultations across the province via the Gender Wage Gap Steering Committee. The goal of the committee’s Townhall meetings is to conduct consultation sessions in order to gain input and receive recommendations, on a go-forward wage gap strategy.

There are many interested parties submitting input into this strategy, with the hopes that their specific interests are both heard and addressed. Of note, the Ontario Principal’s Council and Ontario Midwives are taking a proactive stance to ensure that their unique wage gap issues are considered.

Ontario Principal’s Council

The Ontario Principals’ Council (OPC) is a voluntary professional association representing more than 5,000 practising elementary and secondary principals and vice-principals across the province. The OPC recognizes that there is a wage gap between elementary school principals and vice-principals, and their secondary school colleagues. The wage gap exists based on a government imposed funding formula that included benchmark salaries, which entrenched a historical salary difference based solely on gender.

“Prior to the 1970s, teachers and administrators in the elementary panel were paid less than their secondary counterparts. Most elementary teachers were women, thought to be working for a second income and not the “breadwinner” of the family. Secondary educators had to have a degree, while their elementary colleagues did not. In the 1970s, degrees were required in the elementary panel as well. Elementary teacher unions then negotiated salaries for their members that were on par with those in secondary schools.” (“Gender Wage Gap.” GENDER WAGE GAP STRATEGY (n.d.): n. pag. Gender Wage Gap Strategy. Ontario Principal’s Council. Web.)

Ontario Midwives

Midwives are experts in normal pregnancy, birth and newborn care. The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care fund Ontario’s midwives so services are free to clients.  The role of midwifery is a female dominated profession in Ontario. Of the more than 740 midwives practicing in Ontario today, only one is male. According to Ontario Midwives, the work midwives do has not been valued appropriately compared to other health-care professionals with similar levels of skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions. Based on this, there is a perceived wage gap in this field, which Ontario Midwives are hoping to correct. From one account, it is estimated that the wage gap for Ontario Midwives stands at 52%, compared to the provincial average of 31%.

Having attended a Wage Gap Strategy Townhall meeting, we heard from participants how there are serious wage gaps that exist across a multitude of public and private, union and non-union environments. The province has vowed to close this wage gap, and hopes that the Steering Committee is able to identify plausible strategies designed to engage the government in a viable solution.

HCI will continue to monitor the Wage Gap Strategy and will post an update once the Steering Committee forwards their recommendations.

If you have any questions about the gender wage gap, or Pay Equity Legislation in general, please contact us.

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