As Canada’s Federal Pay Equity Commissioner, I recognize that these extraordinary times require extraordinary efforts. Many Canadian businesses, especially small and medium size companies, are struggling to survive. Unemployment is at a record high and lots of people are having a hard time making ends meet.
There is also wide recognition that the COVID-19 pandemic is having a disproportionate impact on women, and especially racialized women, Indigenous women, migrant women, women with low-income, single mothers, LGBTQ2I+ women and women with disabilities or mental health issues.
Together with the Commission’s Pay Equity team, I am working very hard to develop tools and resources that will provide federally regulated employers with extra support to implement the Pay Equity Act, once it comes into effect. The Pay Equity Act ensures that the gender wage gap in federally regulated workplaces resulting from the undervaluation of work traditionally performed by women is closed.
Having come from the private sector myself, I understand the challenges that many Canadian businesses are facing. I am also convinced that pay equity principles can be a tool, rather than an impediment to economic recovery. Pay equity can provide a sound basis for reviewing a company’s compensation practices to ensure that the company attracts and retains good talent, and that the compensation practices reflect the company’s commitment to fairness and gender equality. Experience has taught me that pay equity makes good business sense. It is also the right thing to do. I know that Canadian businesses are committed to doing the right thing, as witnessed by their heroic efforts to retain as many employees as possible during the Covid-19 crisis.
So, as we look ahead to economic recovery, let’s use pay equity as one of the many tools at our disposal to build stronger businesses, governments and economies. The Canadian Human Rights Commission is here to assist in these efforts. We will soon share educational material and resources to support you in achieving pay equity in your workplaces. We look forward to working with you and sharing our expertise so that all of you, employers and employees, succeed.
Wishing you strength in these challenging times,
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