INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2018
This International Women’s Day, PSAC is calling on the Liberal government to take real action to advance gender equality.
Universal Child Care
Justin Trudeau’s Liberals promised to create “a framework to deliver affordable, high-quality, flexible, and fully inclusive child care for Canadian families.” So far, their actions have fallen short.
The framework agreement announced last June earmarks funding for specific families but leaves the promise of universality unfulfilled. The majority of Canadians are still paying high fees: for the average family, almost one-quarter of their income will go to childcare, far more than the ratio in most other comparable countries. And that’s if they can find a space at all.
In most Canadian cities, nearly three-quarters of child care centres maintain waitlists. Overall, only 24% of children ages 0-5 have access to a licensed child care space, even though the demand for spaces is double that. The fact of the matter is that the cost of childcare has increased – not decreased – under this government.
The Liberals can show their commitment to women’s economic security this International Women’s Day by making the investment in accessible and safe child care that Canadians so desperately need.
Ending gender-based violence
As the #MeToo movement has shown, far too many women are subjected to sexual harassment, assault and violence. In Canada, over a third of women experience domestic violence in their lifetime and more than half report experiencing sexual harassment at work. Workplaces must be safe and free from violence. And when workers are subjected to violence at home, they need workplace supports to get help without risking their jobs.
Manitoba and Ontario have both provided workers who are victims of domestic violence with five days of paid leave. In November, the federal government introduced legislation to grant ten unpaid days to victims of family violence every calendar year.
These are huge first steps – but they don’t go far enough. Five days often isn’t enough to attend to ongoing medical, legal, emotional or housing needs. The financial burden that moving or accessing resources can take means that victims often can’t afford to miss out on wages. The Liberal government needs to offer 10 days of paid domestic violence leave now.
Proactive pay equity
In Canada, women earn 13% less than men. For Indigenous and racialized women, the pay gap is even worse. The most recent available data suggests that racialized women earned 55.6 cents for every dollar that non-racialized men earned in 2005. And the most recent Census data shows that not only does the gender pay gap persist, but in some parts of the country it is actually widening.
Women have the right to be paid wages that are free of gender discrimination. The right to pay equity – equal pay for work of equal value – is one of the most basic of workplace human rights.
The Liberals promised proactive pay equity legislation this year. In 2017, Prime Minister Trudeau reiterated this commitment to the United Nations General Assembly, but women in Canada are still waiting.
PSAC is calling on the federal government to introduce robust pay equity legislation without delay that includes fair assessments of work of equal value, ongoing monitoring and retroactive remuneration where wage discrimination has existed.