prepared by Mary Cornish

Ontario Equal Pay Coalition –
April 2014



Executive Summary

Last year, the Ontario Equal Pay Coalition, in partnership with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ Ontario office, began tracking two key trends in its 2013 report, 10 Ways to Close Ontario’s Gender Pay Gap: (1) the pay gap between men and women in Ontario and, (2) the date in the calendar year that demarcates how much longer women have to work to earn the amount that men earn in a year.

This year’s report examines whether there has been any change in the pay gap and denotes a troubling development. Ontario’s pay gap between men and women got worse, not better, between 2010 and 2011 — the most recent data available. As a result, women in Ontario have to work longer to earn what men earn in terms of average annual earnings.

Last year, using average annual earnings of Ontario men and women, we reported that Ontario gender pay gap was 28% — that, on average, women made 72 cents for every man’s dollar. After examining why there still is a gender pay gap and why closing that gap matters, we identified 10 specific policy measures that could make a difference.

A year later, we find the gap has grown to 31.5% — on average, women made 68.5 cents for every man’s dollar in 2011. This is the price of inaction. In dollar terms: men’s average annual earnings increased by $200 — from $48,800 in 2010 to $49,000 in 2011 — but women’s average earnings decreased by $1,400 — from $35,000 in 2010 to $33,600 in 2011.

If you compare women’s and men’s earnings based on the full-time, full-year measure, it also reveals an increase in the gender pay gap from 24% to 26%.

There is only one measure where women saw a modicum of improvement: the gap based on the women’s hourly income measure decreased be-tween 2010 and 2011 by 1%. It’s a hollow victory that still fails to account for the circumstances of many Ontario women who work part-time, women who face employment barriers in getting higher paid work, or women who can’t get paid work at all. The pay gap is higher for women who are racialized, Aboriginal women, and women with disabilities.

What does that mean in calendar terms? Last year, Ontario’s Equal Pay Day landed on April 9, 2013. Ontario’s Equal Pay Day this year comes on April 16, 2014 — one week later than last year, to recognize the longer time women need to work into the new year to make what men earned by the end of 2013.

Taken over the course of a lifetime, Ontario’s gender pay gap means women would have to work the equivalent of 14 years longer after age 65 to make what men earn on average by age 65.

This report not only documents the worsening gender pay gap in Ontario, it scouts a range of municipal, provincial, national and international best practises to guide policy makers intent on narrowing the gap. There are plenty of options at hand. This report offers a 10-point plan to get there.

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