The Wage Gap is Real but we can fix it

Photo by: Christina@wocintechchat.com

As an HR professional I am a strong advocate for pay transparency. I also run an online community dedicated to supporting working mothers. I refuse to recruit for companies that will not disclose the salary upfront and I don’t share job advertisements online without posted salaries ranges, simply because keeping salaries secret reinforces discrimination.

We have heard a lot recently in the media about discrimination, how opportunities, perceptions and even a person’s worth to society is largely based on conscious or even unconscious bias. All levels of the Canadian government and private companies alike have come together publicly to support fairness and equality.

Social media posting, public denouncements of discriminative workplace cultures and news releases are aplenty, but when it comes to implementing corporate policies and government legislation to address these biases, we have gone quiet. We put our heads down and continue on thinking that “well, it’s not me, I don’t discriminate.”

We know in Canada today:

  • Indigenous women working full-time, full-year earn an average of 35% less than non Indigenous men, earning 65 cents to the dollar.
  • Racialized women working full-time, full year earn an average of 33% less than non racialized men, earning 67 cents to the dollar.
  • Newcomer women working full-time, full-year earn an average of 29% less than nonnewcomer men, earning 71 cents to the dollar.
  • According to the 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability, women with a disability in Canada working full and part-time earn approximately 54 cents to the dollar when compared to the earnings of nondisabled men, equaling a wage gap of around 46%

Source: Gender Wage Gap Fact Sheet

Pay Transparency is not only good corporate policy, it is one of the simplest and fastest ways to prevent unconscious discrimination in hiring practices and close the pay gap.

In 2018, Ontario launched a 3 year strategy designed to “close the gender wage gap, particularly where it is greatest — for Indigenous, newcomer and racialized women, and women with disabilities.” Part of that plan was the The Pay Transparency Act. The statute –was scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2019 and would make the following changes:

  • Salary rates or ranges must be stated in all publicly advertised job postings;
  • Candidates may not be asked about their past compensation;
  • Reprisals cannot be made against employees who discuss or disclose compensation;
  • Employers with one hundred or more employees and prescribed employers must track and annually report compensation gaps based on gender and other prescribed characteristics in pay transparency reports;
  • The province must also publish pay transparency reports.

This Act would have removed the accepted discriminatory practices hidden under the guise of corporate culture and held companies accountable for their equality standards.

In December 2018, the Government quietly rolled out Bill 57, which halted the implementation of the Pay Transparency Act citing a need for public consultations. The public consultations closed in April 2019, and we have not heard anything since.

The Pay Transparency Act is ready to go, it received Royal Assent at the end of 2018. If we are truly supportive of equality, and removing long-standing and accepted bias, why are we not forcing the change?

To quote the amazing Areva Martin “It is not enough to be compassionate. You must act. You must demand change and be the change … we need you to do more than stand.”

Allison Venditti — Pay Transparency Now

Want the Ontario Conservative government to pass the Pay Transparency Act?

Write a letter and share this article and send it to the following people:

Ontario Premier, Doug Ford doug.fordco@pc.ola.org

Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, Hon. Monte McNaughton, Minister.MLTSD@ontario.ca

Minister of Finance, Hon. Rod Phillips, Minister.fin@ontario.ca

Solicitor General (responsible for the Anti-Racism Directorate). Hon. Sylvia Jones, sylvia.jones@ontario.ca

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Career Coach @careerlove.ca, HR pro and advocate for working mothers. I write about working, parenting, HR & all that falls in between. #paytransparencynow