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UFCW Canada's new campaign, Closing the Gap, is calling on provincial governments to commit to closing the gender wage gap as an urgent human rights priority. (Click here for UFCW Canada's submission to Parliament on pay equity.) 

The gender wage gap is the difference in wages or earnings between men and women in their workplace. In Canada, this gap currently stands at 30%. Racialized women, immigrant women, Aboriginal women and women with disabilities suffer from substantially higher pay gaps.

Fair pay means that the work women and men do is equally respected and valued.

Thanks to the labour movement, this pay gap is already much less for women who are in a union.

Suggestions to close the gender wage gap:

• Make it easier to join a union

Union protection is especially helpful as an equality-promoting tool for closing the gender wage gap. On average, women union members earn $6.65/hour more than women without unions. Apart from increasing the wages for women, union protection often leads to greater access to full-time and more secure positions as well as increased part-time hours.

• Introduce Pay Equity laws

Only two provinces – Ontario and Quebec – have proactive pay equity laws covering both public and private sector workers. Under these laws, employers must take active steps to identify and eliminate wage discrimination.

• Legislate a living wage

As Canada's leading private sector union, UFCW Canada is urging provincial governments across the country to legislate a living wage. A strategy which includes a living wage, reliable scheduling and better notice periods will help to improve the gender wage gap for all working women.

• Require reliable scheduling practices, and better notice periods

With the exception of emergencies, employers should not be allowed to change the schedule once posted without the consent of the affected employees. Providing adequate notice is important for allowing employees to plan their lives in such a way as to maximize their work hours to their desired level.

Together, we can urge provincial governments to make equal pay for equal work a reality for all working women in Canada. Send a message to your provincial government leaders today to put an end to the gender wage gap.

  • ufcw [at] ufcw247 [dot] com