Equal Pay Day 2024: Advancing Gender Equity Through Fiscal Policy | The Ontario Federation of Labour

Equal Pay Day 2024: Advancing Gender Equity Through Fiscal Policy

As we mark Equal Pay Day 2024, it’s imperative to reflect not only on the progress made but also on the persistent disparities that continue to plague our society. The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) remains steadfast in advocating for feminist fiscal policy and gender-responsive budgeting as crucial tools in closing the gender pay gap and achieving true economic justice for women and gender-diverse people.

The numbers provided by Statistics Canada paint a stark reality: the gender pay gap remains a pressing issue, with Racialized, Black, Indigenous, Disabled, and Arab women facing compounded challenges. According to the latest data, the average woman earns approximately 68 cents for every dollar earned by white men, Racialized women earn 62 cents, First Nations, Inuit and Black women earn approximately 58 cents, Disabled women earn 57 cents, and Arab women earn 53 cents. These disparities not only reflect economic injustice but also systemic discrimination that must be addressed head-on.

The Ford administration’s consistent underfunding of the public sector—a sector largely staffed by women—contributes to the gender pay gap in Ontario. We have yet to fully recover from the aftermath of Bill 124, which capped wages for public sector workers and disproportionately disadvantaged racialized and working-class women. We need a government that actively works to close the pay gap, not one that perpetuates it by undervaluing sectors predominantly staffed by women, such as public services and care work.

Feminist fiscal policy recognizes the intersectionality of gender, race, disability, and ethnicity in economic outcomes. It acknowledges that women, particularly those from marginalized communities, face unique barriers in accessing equal opportunities and fair compensation.

Gender-responsive budgeting goes a step further by ensuring that government spending and taxation policies actively work to promote gender equality and address the needs of all women, especially those who are disproportionately impacted by systemic inequities.

On this Equal Pay Day, we call on policymakers to implement the following demands and take immediate action:

  1. Raise the minimum wage to a living wage.
  2. Mandate permanent paid sick days for workers.
  3. Implement the Pay Transparency Act and strengthen enforcement mechanisms to hold employers accountable for discriminatory pay practices and ensure that remedies are accessible to affected workers.
  4. Establish affordable and accessible public child care with decent wages and work conditions for child care workers, to alleviate the burden on working mothers and enable them to fully participate in the workforce.
  5. Rebuild the economy by funding public services and equipping health, community and social services, and education workers with decent wages and working conditions.
  6. Employ diversity and inclusion initiatives in workplaces to dismantle systemic barriers and promote equal opportunities for women and gender-diverse people.
  7. Allocate resources for education and training programs that equip women, particularly those from underrepresented groups, with the skills and support needed to thrive in diverse industries.

By prioritizing feminist fiscal policy and gender-responsive budgeting, we can create a more equitable and inclusive society where every individual can succeed regardless of their gender, race, disability, or ethnicity. Together, let’s work towards building a future where Equal Pay Day is not just a reminder of the disparities that exist, but a celebration of the strides we’ve made towards true economic justice for women and gender-diverse people.

#EqualPayDay #PayTransparency #CloseTheGap #IntersectionalJustice