April 6, 2021
The Honourable Jason Kenney
Premier of Alberta
307 Legislature Building
10800-97 Avenue, Edmonton, AB, T5K 2B6
Re: Pay Equity
Dear Premier Kenney,
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. Nationally, 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.
In Alberta, these figures are even larger. Alberta has one of the largest pay gaps in the country. It is alarming that the gap has actually been widening over the last 20 years. Robust pay equity legislation is a key element in a package of policy changes necessary to reduce gendered income inequalities in Alberta.
As Unifor’s Western Regional Director, I am writing to urge your government to introduce proactive pay equity legislation without delay. Failure to address the pay gap not only harm women’s economic security, they deprive all Albertans of the increased prosperity that equal pay brings to the economy and to the province’s tax base.
With federal pay equity legislation due to be in force later this year, over half of Canadian workers will be covered by proactive pay equity legislation. It is time for Albertan workers to have access to this equality measure.
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 Alberta will not recover from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic until women 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 the province into a pandemic recovery.
We urge the Alberta government to take swift steps to address the gender pay gap that is being worsened by this pandemic.
Unifor Western Regional Director