Nfld. & Labrador

Pay equity advocates want N.L. legislature to move on gender wage gap resolution

On a day recognized as Equal Pay Day two women are calling out Newfoundland and Labrador politicians for being slow to act on a promise.

MHAs voted unanimously to support pay equity in 2018, but advocates say no actions have been taken since

Caitlin Urquhart, left, and Dwan Street say the provincial government needs to get moving on its promise to look into pay equity legislation. (CBC)

On a day recognized as Equal Pay Day by groups across the country, two women in Newfoundland and Labrador are asking what's happened to the province's plan to close the pay gap between men and women.

In March 2017, NDP MHA Gerry Rogers introduced a private member's bill asking the government to develop legislation on pay equity.

It was approved unanimously, but lawyer Caitlin Urquhart and Dwan Street, who works with the Fish, Food and Allied Workers union and is a St. John's Status of Women board member, say nothing has been done since.

"We have not seen any action, and what we want to see is people calling, emailing, rallying their MHAs to say we're not going to stand for this. Women in this province deserve better," said Street, in an interview with CBC's Here & Now on Thursday.

The St. John's Status of Women Council says women in N.L. make 66 cents for every dollar earned by a man.

Legislation will help close gap

Street and Urquhart said legislation is one way to help close that gap.

"While we're not going to see the gender wage gap closed overnight by legislation. It is such an important step and it is a very important one for this government," said Street.

NDP MHA Gerry Rogers introduced a private member's bill in March 2017 asking for legislation on pay equity. (CBC)

The council has been calling for an all-party committee on the issue, similar to the all-party committee that was created in recent years to look at mental health support

Urquhart says that's a start. 

"They can do more than just recommend legislation, they can also look at it in a holistic manner, and recommend other changes that can help close this gap," she said.