About the Pay Gap

Isn’t the gender pay gap so 1970s?

Sadly not. Even though women now account for roughly half of the labour force, the gender pay gap in Ontario is 31.5% – one of the biggest reported gaps in the world.

Source: CANSIM 202-0102

What does this 31.5% gap actually mean?

The average annual earnings of female workers in Ontario is 31.5% less than the average annual earnings of male workers. The gap is even higher for women of colour and Aboriginal women.

There are many ways to calculate the pay gap (hourly wages, comparison of full-time workers, comparison of median incomes etc.) No matter how you calculate it, the gap is real.

The Equal Pay Coalition uses the average annual earnings calculation as it speaks to the total picture. About two-thirds of part-time workers in Ontario are women, many who have to work part-time as there is no affordable option for child care.

Sources: CANSIM 202 – 0102, CCPA paper Canada’s Colour Coded Labour Market, CANSIM 282-0002

Don’t women just opt to work less and choose low paying fields?

Nobody chooses to have their work undervalued and underpaid.

Ontario women work in every field – as scientists, childcare workers, business leaders, and much more. The services they provide are essential for our economic and personal well-being, and yet job classes dominated by women tend to be paid less than those dominated by men. One example:

Licensed practical nurses 90% female Median earnings: $38,261
Cable television service and maintenance technicians 97% male Median earnings: $51,030

(source: 2006 Census)

Even when job classes like telephone operators and bank tellers transitioned from being male dominated to female dominated job classes the pay dropped overall.

That’s not because women’s work is less important. It is because it is undervalued. Female dominated job classes are often seen to not as being skilled because the tasks are related to domestic jobs that women were expected to carry out for free in the home.

(source The Future of Female-dominated Occupations by OECD)

In Ontario, women make up 94% of part-time workers who state that caring for children is the reason they didn’t work full time. Access to affordable child care can help to even the playing field for these women.

(Source: CANSIM table 282-0013)

Read more gender pay gap FAQs