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Equal Pay Coalition: 52 Years Is Too Long to Wait to Close the Gender Pay Gap

Ontario First Province to Declare Equal Pay Day but Still Behind Other Jurisdictions in Developing Plans to Close Its 31.5% Gender Pay Gap

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 04/16/14 -- "Without a new plan to combat pay inequity, at the current rate, Ontario women will have to wait about 52 years before they have the same average annual earnings as men, and their 31.5% pay gap closes. This is shocking as women are half the workforce and the majority of degree holders," says Mary Cornish, Chair, Equal Pay Coalition, author of "Growing Concern: Ontario's Gender Gap" just released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. The report highlights 10 ways to close the gap and international best practices for doing so. Demonstrations will take place across Ontario today to call for action to close Ontario's gender pay gap for good.

"Ontario's 31.5% gender pay gap is harming Ontario's economic recovery by failing to harness the economic potential of 100% of Ontario's talent. And the pay gap got worse not better- up 3% between 2010 and 2011," says Cornish. The Conference Board of Canada awarded Canada a "C" for its gender income gap, behind 10 other western economies. "Ontario needs heed organizations like the World Bank, the UN and the ILO who have all warned governments and businesses that economies will not recover and grow equitably without integrating measures to bring pay and employment economic equality to men and women," says Linda Davis, President, Business and Professional Women's Clubs of Ontario. "We will not wait 52 years. We call on Premier Wynne to develop a province wide plan to close the gender pay gap by 2025, much like the government plans under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Too much harm will be done if the government continues to fail to plan and act to close the gap," says Cornish. The Coalition's first called for the government to develop such a plan in 2008, the Pay Equity Act's 20th anniversary.

"While Ontario is marking the official Ontario Equal Pay Day today by holding a closed door dialogue, other countries take public action. For example, President Obama issued an order on US Equal Pay Day requiring federal contractors to provide pay data by sex and race to reveal if any discrimination with taxpayer dollars. The EU required its member states to mandate employers to make their pay policies transparent. "Ontario employers must be required to take pay and employment equity measures as many workers have not seen any pay equity adjustments to rectify their discriminatory pay and they still face many barriers in accessing higher paying male-dominated work" says Nancy Hutchison, Secretary Treasurer, Ontario Federation of Labour. Among the 10 ways to close the pay gap called for by the Coalition are public investments in affordable child care, a minimum wage above the poverty line and full funding to ensure public services are provided at non-discriminatory wages.

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