Pay Equity Matters to Everyone
Mar 17, 2017
Less than a week after International Women’s Day, the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women began the 61st session at UN headquarters in New York. I’m honoured to be a participant in the important deliberations being undertaken with sisters from the trade union movement from 44 countries.
This year’s theme is “Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work” and I felt privileged to be able to share my thoughts on the conference website from the first day of the session.
One of the main topics discussed at UN CSW 61 is "Equal pay for work of equal value." This needs immediate attention from all governments of all levels. Pay equity not only lifts women out of poverty, it improves the lives of every member of their families.
Iceland has announced they have made equal pay for equal work a requirement of all employers. Any employer with 25 or more employees must provide proof of equal pay for equal work every three years.
It is now up to Canada to follow in these footsteps because the sad fact remains that for every dollar earned by men, women in our country still only earn about 87 cents in the federal private sector and Canadian Crown corporations.
This past Monday I was fortunate to meet with The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Labour. The Canadian government has very clearly indicated that pay equity is a critically important area that needs to be addressed and Canada plans to introduce legislation to enshrine this.
Pay equity between men and women is critical for creating growth and a thriving middle class. I’m very happy that the government has committed not only to embarking on meaningful consultations and careful study of this issue, but to take action and introduce proactive pay equity legislation for federally regulated workplaces by the end of 2018. This legislation will require employers to regularly and proactively review their compensation systems, identify any gender-based disparities, and take measures to address them.
This is a very welcome development because equal pay for work of equal value is not just fair; it is at the core of our human rights.