Print this page

Pay Transparency to Reduce the Gender Wage Gap - 2017

Resolution Number:200.10.31
Club:North Toronto

BACKGROUND: While significant pieces of legislation, such as the 1951 Female Employees Fair Remuneration Act; 1962 The Ontario Human Rights Code; 1987 Pay Equity Act, 2000 (Updated 2014); the Ontario Employment Standards Act, the gender wage gap persists (BPW Ontario, 2016; Ministry of Labour, 2015). In the Minister of Labour’s 2014 Mandate Letter, the Premier charged the Minister of Labour with “leading the development of a wage strategy” (Ministry of Labour, 2015, p. 4). This included working “with the Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues and other ministers to develop a wage gap strategy that will close the gap between women and men in the context of the 21st century economy” (Ministry of Labour, 2015, p. 4). It further states that, “it is increasingly recognized that the gender wage gap - the difference between the earnings of men and women - represent lost economic opportunities” (Ministry of Labour, 2015, p. 3) for Ontario. “Women make up an integral part of our economy and society, but on average still do not earn as much as men” (Ministry of Labour, 2015, p. 4).
Recommendation 9 of the Closing the Gender Wage Gap Steering Committee found that transparency in pay causes institutions and organisations to examine their practices, and show leadership as accountable, equitable employers. Making pay information available can remove opportunities for pay discrimination, helping to shift the business culture and expectations towards greater equality. With knowledge of pay rates or ranges, employees are in a better position to negotiate fairer salaries (Ministry of Labour, 2016; New JNCHES Equality Working Group, 2010).
Research shows that women negotiate their salaries less often than men (Babcock & Laschever, 2003). Studies also show that when women negotiate, they are more likely to be penalized or not hired, than men who ask for the same thing (Bowles, Babcock, & Lai, 2007). Knowledge of pay rates or ranges may also allow employees to access their rights to equal pay and pay equity. Any employee or job applicants should be able to share information about their compensation without fear of discrimination or reprisal (Obama, 2014).
What and how pay is made transparent can range from employers providing information on pay setting philosophy, policies or procedures, market studies of wage rates, or aggregated pay rates or ranges. Pay transparency is an excellent first step to identifying and correcting other practices that may have an impact on the gender wage gap. The Closing Gender Wage Gap Steering Committee’s Recommendation 9 encourages the government to lead by example. Using the Ontario Public Service (OPS), the government could create pay transparency policies which could be a model for Ontario businesses to use, and publicize OPS’ compensation and salary ranges by gender. Legislation also needs to be created to protect employees who share personal pay information (Ministry of Labour, 2016).
REFERENCES: Babcock, L., & Laschever, S.. (2003). Women don’t ask: Negotiation and the gender divide. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press
Bowles, H. R., Babcock, L., & Lai, L.. (2007). Social incentives for gender differences in the propensity to initiate negotiations: Sometimes it does hurt to ask. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 103(1), 84-103. Retrieved from
BPW Ontario. (2016). BPW Resolution 2016-1 Closing the Gender Wage Gap for Ontario
Midwives. Ontario: Author.
Ministry of Labour. (2015). Closing the gender wage gap: A background paper. Toronto:
Author. Retrieved from
Ministry of Labour. (2016). Final report and recommendations of the gender wage gap strategy steering committee prepared for Minister of Labour and Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues. Toronto: Author. Retrieved from
New JNCHES Equality Working Group (2010). The Gender Pay Gap a Literature Review. Retrieved from
Obama, B.. (2014). Executive Order - - Non-retaliation for disclosure of compensation information. Washington: The White House Office of the Press Secretary. Retrieved from

RESOLUTION: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT BPW Ontario urges the Government of Ontario, specifically the Minister of Labour and the Minister of Finance to undertake strategies to develop and adopt pay transparency policies for the Ontario Public Service (OPS);

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED THAT BPW Ontario urges the Government of Ontario to set an example by publicizing information or data on the Ontario Public Service’s compensation or salary ranges by gender;

AND FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED THAT BPW Ontario urges the Government of Ontario, specifically Minister of Labour to consider legislation to include protection against reprisal for employees sharing their personal pay information;

AND FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED THAT BPW Ontario urges the Government of Ontario, specifically the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Labour to work with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, and Human Resource Professional Association to introduce wage transparency reporting by setting wage transparency rules after consulting on what reporting requirements would be appropriate for businesses in Ontario.


©BPW Ontario

Article ID: 4385