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Wage gap still a concern for women in Ontario health care sector

Public sector health unions in Ontario said the gender wage gap for women is getting worse 
Sharon Richer of Sudbury, provincial secretary-treasurer of OCHU/CUPE.

New research suggests Conservative Premier Doug Ford's policies have resulted in a "real dollar" wage gap for the predominantly female workforce in Ontario's public sector, said a news release this week from OCHU/CUPE (Ontario Council of Hospital Unions and the Canadian Union of Public Employees).

The report which is titled "Women's Wages and the attack on broader public sector workers" was released March 6 by OCHU/CUPE. 

The report states the average wage growth in Ontario has outpaced inflation in all industries from 2017 to 2023 by nearly seven per cent. 

But the report said that did not happen for health care, education or social assistance workers who "faced real dollar wage cuts", said the union group news release.

Sharon Richer of Sudbury, the provincial secretary-treasurer of OCHU/CUPE was disappointed by the findings in the report.

"This is an attack on women's wages by Doug Ford. By restraining wages for public sector workers, the Ontario PCs are holding back progress for women," said Richer in the release.

She said it appears the labour of women in the sectors of health care, public social work and education is being made less valuable by the Conservatives. Richer said it was unconscionable for the Ontario government to affect wage cuts for "the women caring for patients, the elderly and other vulnerable members of our population."

According to the union group, as of 2023, women across Ontario earned 87.2 cents for every dollar earned by men, compared to 88 cents in earnings in 2018, the year Ford was first elected. 

OCHU/CUPE argued in the release that the report shows that the gender impact of Ontario government policy is not only affecting female employees but it is also negatively affecting the quality of public services which impacts on everyone.

More details on the union report are available online at the OCHU/CUPE website.


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