Surrey South MLA Stephanie Cadieux exchanged criticisms of inaction with B.C.’s Minister of Finance in the legislature Tuesday (June 8) during Cadieux’s reintroduction of her Equal Pay Reporting Act.
After noting B.C.’s “dubious distinction” of having the worst gender-pay gap in Canada, and “this government’s failing childcare promises” – and, noting that her pay-equity bill has been introduced four times now – Cadieux asked if the premier would keep his “snap-election promise” to voters on pay equity.
When Minister of Finance Selina Robinson responded that government’s “significant childcare plan… is the biggest social program we can do for equity for women in this province,” Cadieux countered that Robinson was “completely missing the point.”
“This isn’t about childcare, it isn’t about minimum wage, it’s about pay equity,” she said.
“When I first proposed pay equity legislation, the premier called it ‘a political stunt,’” Cadieux continued. “With the pandemic having delivered a crushing blow to gender equity, the premier’s still missing in action. How much longer… will the premier make women wait on pay equity? It’s a simple question.”
Robinson fired back that Cadieux’s side of the house found her government’s recent move to get rid of the server wage – labelled discriminatory to women, who comprise 80 per cent of the B.C.’s liquor servers – “perfectly acceptable.”
“We’ve done more for women than the people on the other side of the house have ever done,” Robinson said.
Cadieux is the BC Liberal Critic for Gender Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion.
She first introduced her pay-equity bill in 2018, and received unanimous support to send it for second reading.
At the time, she cited a 31 per cent difference in earnings between working men and women in Canada, as well as a Price Waterhouse Cooper study that found gender parity in the workplace “improves affordability, workplace culture and the economy as a whole.”
Leadership from legislators “to help shift attitudes and behaviours” is key in making gender parity in the workplace a reality, she added.
Tuesday’s news release notes monthly Labour Force Survey results “continue to demonstrate that women have been more directly impacted by pandemic job losses.”
“Young women are especially hard hit, as evidence by a current unemployment rate of 17.6 per cent,” the release states.
“Why am I having to repeatedly bring this bill forward?” Cadieux said in the release.
“John Horgan has repeatedly said he wants to put politics behind us and that all good ideas, regardless of which side of the House they come from, would be welcomed. Well, now is the time to act to finally deliver equal pay.”
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