Closing the Gender Wage Gap: Submission by the United Steelworkers

February 3, 2016 | Research & Publications

The current wage gap for all women in Ontario is 31.5% and is even higher for racialized women (36.7%), Aboriginal women (44%) and women with disabilities (25%). 

Women are overrepresented in minimum wage, part-time and precarious employment. USW’s submission finds women’s economic contributions continue to be systemically undervalued in the paid labour force and beyond.  There are some positive findings, however, as women who belong to unions experience a significantly lower wage gap – it is reduced to about 5% for unionized women compared to unionized men, when looking at hourly wages. Collective action is necessary to close the wage gap. 

In 2015, Ontario’s Ministry of Labour and the Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues were directed to develop  a strategy to close the gender wage gap. As part of the Closing the Gender Wage Gap Consultation process, USW District 6 made numerous recommendations to close this gap:

  • Reform the Ontario Labour Relations Act to facilitate brining new members into unions
  • Focus on organizing sectors where women are concentrated in precarious employment
  • Improve statutory protections under the Employment Standards Act  for all workers, including leaves related to domestic violence, care and family leaves 
  • Treat the gender wage gap as a human rights issue
  • Restore and improve funding for the Pay Equity Commission 
  • Bargain improvements to wages for women, protection to improve work-life balance for women and men
  • Use a gender and equity lens in policy making and in bargaining 
  • Restore and amend the Employment Equity Act
  • Provide subsidized accessible, professional child care, with living wages for child care workers!
  • Ensure transparent pay, hiring and promotion practices (through collective bargaining and beyond) 
  • Ensure job evaluation accurately reflects women’s work

We also encourage USW’s women members to join Women of Steel and to rise up and speak up to demand the elimination of the wage gap and proper recognition of women’s economic contributions!

Download a summary here (PDF)


Request this file in a different format