The gender wage gap is stagnating in Canada

Although the gender wage gap narrowed in Canada between 1998 and 2021, men continue to receive higher hourly wages than women. For every dollar earned by men, women earn $0.89.


According to the latest data compiled by Statistics Canada, female employees earned 11.1% less per hour than men in 2021. The gap hardly changed from 2020. This is partly explained by the over representation of men in full-time jobs and in higher-paying sectors like construction, manufacturing and mining. On top of that, women devote 15% of their day to unpaid work, such as housework, compared to 10% for men, according to Statistics Canada.

A recent survey by ADP and Léger indicates that women’s pre-tax wages remain 21% lower than those of men. The disparity is even greater in supplementary variable compensation, such as bonuses and equity agreements, with Canadian working women earning 43% less than men in 2020.

The Canadian Women’s Foundation reminds us that this difference in average earnings exists in all sectors and in all professional levels. For example, women in managerial positions earn about 56% less on average than male managers. The wage gap is worse for people who face other obstacles; racial, Indigenous, or living with disabilities.

With a disparity of 16.7%, Canada is the seventh worst country in the world in terms of the median wage gap between men and women, ranked by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Korea is at the bottom of the table with a gap of 31.1%, while Bulgaria takes first place on the podium with just a 2.6% gap. If nothing changes, the World Economic Forum has calculated that it would take 267.6 years to close the global gender economic gap. 

In Quebec

Quebec women earned an average of 91% of the average hourly earnings of their male colleagues in 2021, according to data from the Institut de la statistique du Québec. The gap widens if the focus is on weekly earnings, as women work fewer hours of paid work. Therefore, they receive on average 82.3% of the weekly earnings of men in Quebec.

Of the 10 provinces where data on the average hourly gender wage gap are available, Quebec (9%) ranks fourth behind Prince Edward Island (0%), New Brunswick (7%) and Nova Scotia (7%). The worst performers are Manitoba (10%), Ontario (11%), Alberta and British Columbia (14%).


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