Rally addresses wage gap in Ontario

The rally was part of a international initiative to mark Equal Pay Day

Ontario’s Equal Pay Coalition took to the streets today to mark equal pay day 2019 with a rally outside the Ministry of Labour. 

“Equal pay day is the day in the year where we mark how large the gender pay gap is, it marks how far into the new year women have to work to earn as much as men did by Dec. 31 last year,” said  Fay Faraday, co-chair of the coalition. 

The rally featured a pop-up bake shop where cookies were strategically sold for a dollar to men while women were asked to pay 70 cents, demonstrating the current gender pay gap in Ontario.

“Women’s work is not worth less than the work of the men working beside them, yet they continue to be paid less,” said Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath, in a statement today. 

“Women face so many hurdles in the workplace, why should pay be one of them,” added Anita Agarwal of the “Better Way Alliance.” 

Ontario’s Equal Pay Coalition was established in 1974 and according to co-founder Mary Cornish, was responsible for starting “Equal Pay Days” in Ontario.

The coalition is hoping to see a ‘Pay Transparency Act, 2018’ implemented by May 1, 2019, encouraging “the publication of gender pay information that would encourage employers to close the gender pay gap,” as stated on their website. 

Another issue highlighted this year by the coalition was to keep the $2 provincial wage enhancement grant for registered early childhood educators (ECE). 

“We know that childcare is a huge part of closing the gender wage gap, both for mothers and early childhood educators,” said Carolyn Ferns, policy coordinator at Ontario Coalition for Better Childcare. 

Ferns’ explains that ECE is a female dominated profession that continues to be undervalued and underpaid and that if cuts to wage enhancement follow through, ECE’s, “could see a two hour wage cut off their already low wages.”

Increasing the funding to the Pay Equity Commission and raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour are other goals of the coalition. 

“The current Ontario government has not marked equal pay day which is why we’re out here in front of the Ministry of Labour,” said Faraday.

With files from Ladshia Jeyakanthan.

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Rally addresses wage gap in Ontario