Plan for pay equity legislation well underway, Trudeau says

The plan to implement pay equity is well underway as the deadline to table the legislation nears, says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Canadian women earning 87 cents an hour for every dollar a man makes

Pay equity legislation is slated to be tabled this year. (Peter Scobie/CBC)

The plan to implement pay equity is well underway as the deadline to table the legislation nears, says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Paying women in federally regulated workplaces at the same rate as men was a Liberal platform promise the party said would be fulfilled in 2018.

"We're very much working towards getting it right and it's something that we recognize that there won't be a single sudden magic bullet," he told CBC Radio's The House. "It's part of a process, but [we're] taking real steps towards it, yes."

Achieving gender parity was a constant thread throughout the prime minister's remarks at the World Economic Forum in January.

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Trudeau pushed the idea of gender-balanced boards and project teams while touting Canada's own efforts to help women, including the Canada Child Benefit and expanded parental leave options. He also repeated his promise that pay equity legislation would come this year.

He argued for a fundamental shift toward hiring and promoting more women.

Women paid less, hold more part-time jobs

While efforts have been made to open up options on parental leave and child care, areas like equal pay have yet to enter the spotlight.

Canadian women earned 87 cents an hour for every dollar a man made in 2015, according to Statistics Canada.

Women also are far more likely to hold part-time jobs; almost 19 per cent of female workers are part-time, versus five per cent of men.

But the solution, Trudeau said, is not as straightforward as simply paying women more.

"Pay equity is a really big, important thing and it's also extremely complex," he said.

It's never as easy as two people — man and woman — doing the same job, the woman being paid less than the man.- Justin Trudeau

"It's never as easy as two people — man and woman — doing the same job, the woman being paid less than the man. There are examples of that, [but] most of the time it's similar types of jobs that aren't exactly the same, but more women doing this job means they're paid less on average."

Trudeau also said there was no plan to set a minimum wage for federally regulated jobs.

"The number of people in federally regulated areas that make the minimum wage is fairly low," he said. "It won't make a massive difference across society."

Listen to the full interview with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on The Housetoday at 9 a.m. (9:30 a.m. in Newfoundland) on CBC Radio One and SiriusXM 169.

With files from Chris Hall