Liberals Proposing Pay Equity Legislation

Gender symbol

In an attempt to move a step closer to achieving gender equality in Canada, the Liberal government plans to introduce legislation regarding gender pay equity. At the World Economic Forum in Switzerland in January 2018, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the legislation would guarantee equal pay for work of equal value in federal jobs, and will work to improve women’s economic success (Deschamps, 2018). Many people are hoping the Prime Minister will unveil the legislation in the upcoming federal budget on February 27.

Last August, in a memo presented to Finance Minister Bill Morneau, the Liberals proposed a gender equality framework which revolved around five objectives, which are as follows (Blatchford and Smith, 2018):

  1. Equal opportunities for men and women in education and skills training;
  2. Equal opportunities in economic influence and leadership;
  3. Economic equality;
  4. Guaranteeing physical and emotional security (i.e. in regards to intimate partner violence and sexual assault);
  5. Combating poverty and promoting equal health and well-being.

Government officials are hoping to see these objectives woven into the proposed legislation once it is announced. However, despite the anticipation for this legislation, some people are skeptical that it will be as effective as it sounds. Focusing on wages alone will not be sufficient to close the gender wage gap. Attention must also be paid to issues such as lack of acceptable childcare support, biased hiring practices (whether intentional or not), opportunities for career advancement, and marginalization of women who are of a minority group and/or who suffer from physical or mental disabilities.


This blog post was written by a CCLA-PBSC RightsWatch student. Views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCLA or PBSC.

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