Our own Collective Agreement contains a letter of understanding regarding Employment Equity, describing a, “shared commitment to achieving employment equity within the college system” as well as outlining commitments at local and provincial levels, including, “removal of barriers that may exist in employment policies and the monitoring of data relative to employment equity.” This letter also includes an understanding that, “At the provincial level, the parties will work together to ensure that all provisions of the Agreement are non-discriminatory in nature and effect” and specifically names women as one of the designated groups to which this letter pertains.
Gender Pay Gap – According to Statistics Canada, in 2022, on average women are paid $0.88 for every dollar paid to men. In education, the figure is even more concerning; women are paid $0.81 for every dollar paid to men. The median pay rates for women are even lower than the averages. While our own compensation system does not openly prescribe lower pay for women, does it in effect assign lower pay to women? Pay rates are determined by experience and education. Women often face barriers in accessing and paying for post secondary education as well as gaps in work experience (and education) as women are often primary caregivers to children and older relatives. Women may also be disadvantaged in gaining employment experience in traditionally male dominated fields, such as Supply Chain and Operations Management. This inequity results in women earning less in retirement, as ability to save for retirement and pension earnings are impacted by wages paid during working years.
Equity – Compensation is a recognition of the value a person contributes through their employment. If we place equal value to the contributions of men and women than we would expect to find compensation equality. We can look to the outcomes or effects of a given system, in this case the compensation system, to understand its implicit gender bias and resulting gender-based compensation discrimination. If our compensation system is free from gender bias, how and why does this gender pay gap exist?
As stated above, in education, women are paid $0.81 for every dollar earned by men. As a demonstration of achieving employment equity within our college we must have salary transparency to measure and monitor data relative to employment equity; in this case gender pay data. Salary transparency will help us to understand if our compensation system is or is not non-discriminatory in nature and effect.
- Phase 1 – Collect the data relative to employment equity – Salary transparency by gender – research gender pay rates and analyze potential gender pay gaps at the local and provincial level. This is supported by the Employment Equity letter of understanding.
- Phase 2 – Identify barriers and methods to remove systematic gender-based pay inequity from our compensation calculation system. This is supported by the Employment Equity letter of understanding.
- Phase 3 – Implement improvements identified to remove barriers to employment equity and discriminatory effects. This is supported by the Employment Equity letter of understanding.
- Phase 4 – Continue to generate data to measure the effectiveness of the improvements made to ensure employment equity. This is supported by the Employment Equity letter of understanding.
- Phase 5 – Continue this process as needed to achieve employment equity for designated groups as outlined in the Collective Agreement. This is supported by the Employment Equity letter of understanding.
As we have this letter of understanding within our Collective Agreement, now is the time to move forward in a meaningful way to very carefully and thoughtfully review our systems, including compensation systems, to energetically seek to identify inequity and uproot that inequity. In the words we collectively committed to in our Collective Agreement, we must, “ensure that all provisions of the Agreement are non-discriminatory in nature and effect.” Our colleagues and bargaining teams work very diligently on our behalf to win important provisions within our Collective Agreement and in kind we must honour that work by upholding those provisions, even when it may be challenging to do so. In the words of journalist Maria Ressa, “Don’t be afraid – if you don’t exercise your rights, you will lose them.” Our Collective Agreement provides a letter of understanding which specifically entitles each of us to Employment Equity. We must vigorously pursue systematic equity.
For more information, please reach out to:
Treasurer & Steward at Local 237
Source: Statistics Canada. Table 14-10-0340-02 Average and median gender wage ratio, annual, inactive