Letter to Premier Doug Ford re Pay Equity


April 7, 2021

Via email: @email

The Honourable Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario
Room 281
Legislative Building, Queen’s Park
Toronto, ON M7A 1A1

Dear Premier Ford,

Re:  Pay Equity – Equal Pay Day 2021

On Equal Pay Day this year, Unifor members will be wearing red to symbolize women being in the red due to the gender wage gap. It takes the average woman over 15 months to make the same as the average man did in 12 months. We know the gap is even wider for women facing multiple and intersecting areas of discrimination. Women with disabilities face a 56% gender pay gap; Immigrant women face a 55% gender pay gap; for Indigenous women it is a 45% gender pay gap; and for racialized women there is a 40% gender pay gap.

These are all figures that the Ontario government can reduce. There were multiple missed opportunities in the recent Ontario budget. These missed opportunities not only harm women’s economic security, they deprive all Ontarians of the increased prosperity that equal pay brings to the economy and to the province’s tax base. I will raise two very simple steps that your government can take to immediately address contributors to the gap.

The Pay Transparency Act has received Royal Assent and yet your government has blocked bringing it into force. Unionized workers have pay transparency through their collective agreements. It is time that non-union workers had that right. This is an effective way of revealing gender pay issues.

Women workers at long-term nursing homes have won the right to pay equity, including maintenance, by using the proxy method to calculate the gap. The recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision confirmed this right (Ontario Nurses’ Association v. Participating Nursing Homes, 2021 ONCA 148). It is unconscionable that you would take the side of for-profit long-term care owners, file an appeal to delay the pay equity process, all the while commending long-term care workers as heroes at the microphone. We ask that you announce, on Equal Pay Day, that you will abide by the Court’s ruling and will not be seeking to further delay pay equity by launching an appeal.

Everyone deserves to be paid fairly for the value of their work, whether their job is done mainly by women, or mainly by men. It is clear that our province will not recover from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic until women in Ontario recover from the devastating impact that the pandemic has had on their livelihoods. Addressing the gender pay gap is a necessary and important step your government can take to lead our province into a pandemic recovery.

We urge the Ontario government to take swift steps to address the gender pay gap that is intensifying during this pandemic. Without women’s work, our economy does not work.


Naureen Rizvi
Unifor Ontario Regional Director