May 16th, 2023

A stalled gender wage gap, "motherhood earnings penalty", and more – FAO report paints a worrying picture of women in Ontario's labour market

QUEEN'S PARK – Leader of the Official Opposition NDP Marit Stiles (Davenport), Critic for Women's Social and Economic Opportunity MPP Jill Andrew (Toronto – St. Paul’s), and Critic for Labour, Training and Skills Development Jamie West (Sudbury) have issued the following remarks in response to the Financial Accountability Officer's latest report, "Women in Ontario's Labour Market."

"The FAO's latest report paints a worrying picture for women in the workforce. Ontario has seen no meaningful improvement in the gender wage gap over the past decade, as women continue to earn 87 cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts in the same roles. This figure is even lower for racialized women, women identifying as 2SLGBTQIA+, women with disabilities, and newcomers; among other intersectional identities. The occupational composition, which shows that men dominate higher-paying jobs across the province, accounts for a part of this growing wage gap. However, FAO estimates this only accounts for 2 cents of the 13-cent gender wage gap, while the remaining 11 cents of the gender wage gap is due to wage inequality within occupations. This is shameful.

Ford's continued attacks on healthcare workers and educators have directly impacted the widening wage gap that we can see in this report. This government has lost sight of our province's priorities and has set progress for women and gender-diverse people in our workforce back by decades.

This government has a proven track record of targeting women-dominated professions – first with Bill 124 and then with the recently repealed Bill 28. Now, their private-for-profit healthcare schemes, harmful education legislation, and lack of childcare investment will continue pushing women to the back of the line in our economy. This has to change.

The FAO also draws attention to a "motherhood earnings penalty", a concerning trend of women's earnings being cut in half after having a child and taking up to four years to return to pre-childbirth earning levels. However, the report also shows that subsidized and accessible childcare would drastically increase the number of women in Ontario's workforce. Yet, once again, these are solutions that Ford Conservatives have refused to invest in.

We have been calling on this government to repeal harmful legislation like Bill 124 and Bill 28, push back on the harmful healthcare legislation that will force even more women out of the workforce, lay out practical and proven solutions like investing in childcare, providing better working conditions for ECEs, and more. We have also called for an intersectional gender-based analysis to be applied to all legislation, especially labour, to pave a path for gender equity in Ontario.

Instead, Ford and his out-of-touch government are letting ideology drive their decision-making and holding back progress for our province; they are spending millions on taking nurses to court over frozen wages.”