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Closing the Gender Wage Gap for Ontario Midwives - 2020

Resolution Number: 200.20.33
Club: Bowmanville
Year: 2020
Status: Open

BACKGROUND The purpose of this resolution is to re-affirming the 2016 resolution and close the gender wage gap being experienced by the Ontario midwives and to make recommendations to close that gap. On November 27, 2013, the Association of Ontario Midwives (AOM) on behalf of Ontario midwives filed an application with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) to address the gender wage gap (Association of Ontario Midwives [AOM], 2020).

The Pay Equity Commission of Ontario is mandated to identify, and correct gender discrimination based on paid wages, ensure employers know their obligations, and provides resources. The new Pay Equity Commission of Ontario states the purpose of the Pay Equity Act is to redress systemic gender discrimination in the compensation of employees in female job classes and provides for employers, which includes classified government agencies, and provides the resources to achieve pay equity. However, one of the main reasons for the midwives’ wage gap is the provincial government classifies midwives as independent contract status which excludes midwives from the Pay Equity Act (Government of Ontario, 2018). Pelletier, Patterson, and Moyser (2019) found, “… that women in Canada have surpassed men in educational attainment…higher-status occupations (Moyser, 2019), the persistence of gender-based wage inequality warrants continued attention (p. 4).”

On September 24, 2018, Adjudicator Reaume outlined her interim decision regarding the wage dispute between the Association of Ontario Midwives and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MHLTC) as follows: “From 2005 to 2013 there is sufficient evidence to support a finding of discrimination as a result of the Ministry of Health not remaining in alignment with the 1993 principles and methodology (Reaume, 2018).”

Following the HRTO Decision, the Ontario Government requested a judicial review of the HRTO interim decision that took place in the Ontario Divisional Court on April 8, 9, and 17, 2020 (AOM, 2020a). “July 8, 2019 in St Jacobs, ON – Today, Minister of Health Christine Elliott announced that the Ontario government will invest in improving access to midwifery care. The announcement includes additional funding to invest in the growth of midwifery. ....... Additionally, the Ministry is committed to expanding the scope of practice for midwifery ....., making it easier for people in Ontario to access the health care they need (AOM, 2020, para 1).”

On February 19, 2020 the HRTO released 2020 HRTO 165 Decision on Remedy of the AOM v. the Ministry of the Attorney General as represented by the Ministry of Health (MOH) citing specific and concrete remedies the Ministry of Health must take to address lost wages owed to Ontario midwives, and correct the systemic discrimination to comply with the Human Rights Code (AOM, 2020).

Despite this remedial decision, the provincial government proceeded to request a judicial review of the HRTO decisions which took place on April 8, 9, and 17, 2020 (AOM, n.d.).

On June 26, 2020 the Ontario Supreme Court of Justice Divisional Court dismissed the request for a judicial review concluding the Tribunal’s decisions in respect to liability and remedy fall within a range of possible, acceptable outcomes which are defensible in respect of the facts and law and demonstrates the reasoning process is transparent, intelligible, and justified (Backhouse, Pattillo, Lederer, 2020).

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that BPW Ontario reaffirms the BPW Ontario 2016 – 01 Resolution: Closing the Gender Wage Gap for Ontario Midwives which states BPW Ontario strongly urges the Government of Ontario to demonstrate their commitment to serve as a role model in closing the gender wage gap for Ontario’s Midwives as it offers a prime example of meaningful culture change that can be applied through collaboration with the Minister of Labour (now Minister of Labour, Trade and Skill Development), Minister of Health and Long-term Care (now Minister of Health) and the Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues (now Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues);
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that BPW Ontario strongly urges the Government of Ontario to commit the Minister of Health to maintain a regimen of compensation review for Ontario Midwives consistent with the physicians and nurses to prevent a gender wage gap from widening again.


©BPW Ontario

Article ID:4401

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