Midwives seek more pay from province
Female-dominated profession underpaid by half, says group in human rights claim
Midwives in Windsor say they should be paid more because they do a lot more than before.
Crystal Hall has been in midwifery since 1997.
"When we first started, we were funded to provide women in low risk normal settings, provide care from the beginning of the pregnancy right to the end," she said. "Now, we're prescribing more medications. We're just doing way more than we were funded for."
Hall goes on to say that the issue of pay equity for midwives is also linked to gender equality.
"The vast majority of midwives are women and we care for women," she said. "I think if it was a male-based practice ... we would be paid equitably."
Ontario's midwives are taking legal action against the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care over pay equity — and today will file a complaint with the province's Human Rights Tribunal.
It calls on the province to double their pay, to almost $200,000 per year, close to what a family doctor makes.
All but one of the province's 682 midwives are women and the Association of Ontario Midwives claims its members are paying a "gender penalty."
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"We believe because it's predominantly women providing care to women in a women's health experience [the work] is not as valued by the government," president Lisa Weston told CBC News.
"We've been unable to get the government to live up to its own laws on pay equity."
As independent contractors, midwives are not covered by the province's pay equity legislation, which is why the group is instead framing its claim as a human rights issue.
"I'm protected under human rights legislation whether I'm an employee, a contractor or nobody at all," said Weston.
The lack of male midwives makes it hard to work out whether, as women, they are being underpaid. So the group brought in a pay equity expert who compared the skills, responsibilities and working conditions of midwives to those of occupations that include more men.