The Wage Gap is Real – but we can fix it

As an HR professional I am a strong advocate for pay transparency. I also run an online community dedicated to supporting working mothers. I refuse to recruit for companies that will not disclose the salary upfront, and I don’t share job advertisements online without posted salary ranges, simply because keeping salaries secret reinforces discrimination.

We have heard a lot recently in the media about discrimination, how opportunities, perceptions and even a person’s worth to society is largely based on conscious or even unconscious bias. All levels of the Canadian government and private companies alike have come together publicly to support fairness and equality.

Social media posting, public denouncements of discriminative workplace cultures and news releases are aplenty, but when it comes to implementing corporate policies and government legislation to address these biases, we have gone quiet. We put our heads down and continue on thinking that “well, it’s not me, I don’t discriminate.”

We know in Canada today:

  • Indigenous women working full-time, full-year earn an average of 35% less than non-Indigenous men, earning 65 cents to the dollar.
  • Racialized women working full-time, full year earn an average of 33% less than non-racialized men, earning 67 cents to the dollar.
  • Newcomer women working full-time, full-year earn an average of 29% less than non-newcomer men, earning 71 cents to the dollar.
  • According to the 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability, women with a disability in Canada working full and part-time earn approximately 54 cents to the dollar when compared to the earnings of nondisabled men, equaling a wage gap of around 46%

Source: Gender Wage Gap Fact Sheet

Pay Transparency is not only good corporate policy, it is one of the simplest and fastest ways to prevent unconscious discrimination in hiring practices and close the pay gap. Here are some pay transparency facts:

  • Pay transparency has more than doubled in the US since 2020 as a result of legislation, 43.7% of US companies currently post salaries on job postings (Source)
  • There is a law in effect from the federal government on Pay Transparency that may affect your employer. All federally regulated employers are required to provide added detail on pay transparency as part of the Pay Transparency Act, starting 2022. https://www.hrreporter.com/focus-areas/compensation-and-benefits/new-pay-transparency-rules-now-in-effect/336743
  • In March 2024, Bill 149, the Working for Workers Four Act, 2023) received Royal Assent in the Province of Ontario that proposes a number of amendments including a requirement to disclose salary ranges in job postings and mandating that employers cannot ask for current salary information.   
  • As of March 2024, British Columbia (BC), Prince Edward Island (PEI), Nova Scotia (NS), and Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) have passed some form of pay transparency legislation. Ontario law received Royal Assent. Proposed legislation was voted down in Manitoba.

Source: Navigating Pay Transparency - Mercer

To quote the amazing Areva Martin “It is not enough to be compassionate. You must act. You must demand change and be the change … we need you to do more than stand.”

Moms at Work was a key player in getting pay transparency legislation passed across North America, but we have lots more work to do. Sharing on social media, talking about us to your friends and family and getting our updates all help make a difference in our advocacy work.

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Allison Venditti

Career Coach, HR Expert, salary negotiation whisperer, pay transparency and equity advocate. Founder of Moms at Work, Canada's largest organization committed to helping women earn more money, land better jobs and build community. Allison was named The Globe and Mail Report on Business Top 50 Changemakers 2022, is a regular speaker and media expert with over 100 interviews in 2021.

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