Print Print This Page

Closing Ontario's Gender Wage Gap: Have Your Say

Please share your experiences

Gender wage gaps show that workplace inequalities continue to exist. Nearly half of Ontario’s workforce is female yet women earn less than men throughout their working lives.

Despite increased participation in the workforce and higher levels of education and increased skills, women still face significant barriers and disadvantages in employment compared to men.

More women than men are in lower-paying jobs, are disproportionately represented in minimum wage and part-time work and are under-represented in occupations that have higher-paying wages. This negatively affects women, their families and Ontario’s economy.

In many of today’s families, both parents work and try to balance work and family responsibilities. Workplaces have been slow to adjust to this emerging trend. Ontario’s economic stability and growth depend on a strong, productive labour force. However, its workforce is aging and there is a shortage of workers in several sectors. We need to make best use of all available talent (both men and women).

A 2005 report from the Royal Bank of Canada estimated that if women in Canada had the same labour market opportunities as men, personal incomes would be $168 billion higher each year. Research shows that equal opportunity employers attract talented staff with better morale and motivation, resulting in better productivity.

The gender wage gap is the difference between wages earned by men and women. There are many ways to measure the gender wage gap – by hourly earnings, annual earnings – and including all earners or just full year earners. The wage gap in Ontario, on average, ranges from 12% to 31%.

The Ontario government is examining ways that government, business, labour, and individuals can work together to identify opportunities – and barriers – to closing the gender wage gap. The gender wage gap is even greater for women who experience other forms of discrimination. Some women, like Aboriginal women, women with disabilities or immigrant women, face greater challenges getting a job, or full time employment.

The gender wage gap has many causes. We need to learn more about them, why they continue to occur, and their effects – then work to address workforce inequality and make changes so that we all can succeed.

Closing Ontario’s Gender Wage Gap requires all of us to be involved. We want to hear from you about your employment choices and experiences. Our questions are below.

Consultation Questions

  1. Academic choices made as early as high school can affect career choices. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers and skilled trades attract fewer women. Conversely, caregiving and education sectors have very low male participation rates. In making your career choices, who or what had the most influence on you and your decisions?
  2. If you are a man or a woman in an occupation or a workplace, where you are under-represented, do you feel welcomed and supported by your employer and co-workers? What else could help?
  3. Family obligations can often determine who works and whether work is part-time or full time. Does your family or partner support your decision to work?
  4. In your first job – did you negotiate your starting pay? If so, what tools/advice did you use to determine a starting salary?
  5. When choosing a job, do you consider benefits and leaves (maternity/paternity) as part of your decision-making?
  6. If you took parental leave, were you supported in the workplace before leaving and upon return?
  7. If you have taken parental leave, did you experience any short term or long term financial impacts?
  8. Returning to work after family leave can be challenging. Can you describe challenges that you or your family faced/or will face, in returning to work? What factors influenced the date of return?
  9. Do you feel you have the knowledge and the supports you need to “move ahead” in your workplace or career? If not, tell us why.
  10. In your opinion, are your workplace’s policies flexible enough to balance work and family activities? Are there specific ways in which they can support balancing work and family?
  11. Would having your workplace disclose pay ranges and pay and other human resource policies help you negotiate your salary or decide where to work?
  12. If you’re in a leadership role, do you mentor and/ or sponsor men and women who want to advance their careers?
  13. Societal attitudes can create barriers that contribute to the gender wage gap. What factors that contribute to the gender wage gap matter to you most? What could be done to change attitudes? Are there “best practices” you can tell us about?
  14. Tell us about yourself. Do you identify as male, female, or other? What age range are you in? (under 15, 15 to 24, 25 to 35, 35 to 45, 45 to 55, 55 to 65, over 65)

Take Action

This consultation will help us develop a strategy that will work to close the wage gap between men and women in Ontario, working in the 21st century economy. Actions that will help women and their families and actions that might change discriminatory social norms should be considered. Closing the gender wage gap is not only good for women. It is good for all Ontarians.


Gender Wage Gap Strategy Steering Comittee,
400 University Avenue, 12th floor,
Toronto, Ontario, M7A 1T7

Fax: 416-326-7650
(Attention: Gender Wage Gap Strategy Steering Committee)

Please provide your response by Friday, January 15, 2016.

Please provide your contact information in your cover letter. Please do not include it in the submission itself, unless you agree to have your contact information become public (see “Notice to Consultation Participants” below).

Thank you for participating.

Notice to Consultation Participants

Submissions and comments provided become part of the public consultation process. The Ministry of Labour may publish any submissions, comments, or summaries of them. In addition, the Ministry may share your submissions, comments, or summaries of them, with other parties during and after the consultation period.

Therefore, please note:

  • Do not include the names of other parties (such as the names of employers or other employees) or any other information by which others could be identified, in your submission.
  • If you do not want your identity to be linked to your submission, only put your name (and any other identifying information) in a cover letter, NOT in the submission itself.
  • If you do identify yourself in your submission, this information may be released with published material or made available to the public.
  • However, if your name and contact information is only in the cover letter, it will not be disclosed by the Ministry, unless required by law.
  • An individual who provides a submission or comments and indicates an affiliation with an organization will be considered a representative of that organization and his or her identity may be disclosed.

Personal information collected during this consultation is under the authority of the Gender Wage Strategy Steering Committee and is in compliance with subsection 38(2) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Personal information provided in your submission is voluntary and will be used by the Committee in order to develop recommendations to help create a strategy that aims to close the gender wage gap.

If you have any questions regarding privacy matters, you may contact the Ministry’s Freedom of Information and Privacy Office at 416-326-7786.