Women in the Capital Regional District continue to earn less than men. The gap is larger for visible minority women and women with diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Women annually earn between 30 and 75 cents for each dollar a white man earns.
Where does this gap come from?
Various intersecting factors feed into these income gaps—wage inequity, gender and culture specific norms, lack of childcare and caregiving responsibilities are just some examples. Women, and particularly visible minority women:
- Are more likely to be part-time, temporary and contract workers.
- Are more likely to do lower paying work, and conversely, compensation is traditionally lower for sectors in which the workers are mostly women.
- Earn less per hour on average for similar work to men.
COVID-19 has widened the gap. The lack of adequate childcare, school aged children at home, and the high impacts on tourism, retail, food and hospitality and other sectors where women and particularly visible minority women were hit hardest.
In response, the Canadian Human Right Commission states:
“If we are to restore momentum in our efforts to bring about gender equality in Canada, social and economic recovery efforts must take a feminist approach. Closing the gender pay gap and improving social services for women in vulnerable circumstances are a must.”
How can we narrow the gaps in the Capital Region?
Conduct pay audits in your organization. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business provides exercises to conduct an internal audit. While it’s specific to the Pay Equity Act in Quebec, the questions can be adapted to other jurisdictions.
Support flexible work requirements. Women are often forced to choose between work, childcare, and other family commitments. A flexible schedule that eases in-office requirements can help.
Publish wage/salary information in job postings. Providing salaries up front keeps unintentional bias from creeping into the hiring process. Publishing a range allows room to negotiate based on education and experience while ensuring candidates have equal starting places.
Write your MLA and encourage them to pass provincial legislation that outline protections, processes, and remedies that require all BC employers to provide equal pay and to make the minimum wage a living wage (See the CSPC’s annual calculation for the living wage).
About the data
Note: Gender earnings gaps were calculated from median annual incomes.
Data Tables: CPP-5a: Aboriginal identity (7), Age groups (6), Sex (3), Income status in 2015 – CPP (7) and Selected labour force, work activity and income characteristics (35) for the population 15 years and over with income in private households, 2016 Census
CPP-5b: Visible minority status (14), Age groups (6), Sex (3), Income status in 2015 – CPP (7) and Selected labour force, work activity and income characteristics (35) for the population 15 years and over with income in private households, 2016 Census
Definitions for various demographic groups are included in the Stats Canada data tables listed.