P.E.I.'s gender wage gap ranks first in Canada

A new Conference Board of Canada report says P.E.I. has the lowest gender wage gap in Canada last year.

But more work needs to be done, says report researcher

According to a new report from the Conference Board of Canada, P.E.I. ranks first in Canada and fourth among developed countries in terms of its gender wage gap. (Ruben Sprich/Reuters)

A new Conference Board of Canada report says P.E.I. has the lowest gender wage gap in Canada.

The report — How Canada Performs: Social Report Card — compared how the provinces are performing with the gap in median weekly wages compared other provinces and 16 OECD [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] peer countries, including Canada and the U.S.

Overall, P.E.I. ranked fourth with an 11-per-cent wage gap behind Belgium [three per cent], Denmark and Norway. That ranking resulted in a grade of 'B.' Canada as a whole ranked 19th with a 18-per-cent gap.

The province ranking second in Canada was Manitoba [13 per cent] while Newfoundland and Labrador came in last with a 28-per-cent gap.

Why is P.E.I. lower?

"What we've noticed is that the resource-based economies like Newfoundland and Labrador and Alberta [25 per cent] are at the other end of the spectrum in Canada, so part of it could be obviously more men are in resource-based industries," said Sheila Rao, who worked as a principal research associate on the report.

"That could be a contributing to the wage gap in those provinces, which is something that we don't see in P.E.I."

She said that another reason P.E.I. has a lower wage gap, especially in terms of hourly wages, could involve women choosing to work less hours because of certain circumstances, such as child care. 

The report uses data from the OECD and Statistics Canada.

"I think it's good performance within Canada, but obviously, we want to close that gap further. There's more that can be done," Rao said.

With files from Laura Chapin