On April 26, 2012, the Institut de la statistique du
Québec (ISQ) released the 2012 edition of the Annuaire québécois des statistiques
du travail. According to the report, Québec women
came 29 cents closer to earning the same average salary as men in
2011. The average hourly wage in 2011 for women was $20.11 compared
to $22.81 for men.
In 2011, Québec women earned $666.21
compared with $851.68 for men, a difference of $185.47. The
difference in hourly earnings between men and women was smaller in
2011 than in 2001. In 2011, in average, a man earned $851.68 per
week. This amount is $185.47 more than a woman's weekly
earnings. In turn, that difference was $188.96 in 2001. Over the
years, the discrepancy in weekly earnings between men and women has
fluctuated, reaching, for example, $178.33 in 2007 and $190.28 in
However, the report also finds that women earned
an average hourly compensation of $20.11, approximately nine-tenth
that of men ($22.81). In addition, women worked an average of 32.1
hours, 4.5 hours less than their male counterparts, according to
Québec labour statistics. This disparity may be attributable
to the fact that women miss more work for personal or family
reasons. The study demonstrates that women left work for family
reasons on average of 71 hours per year. In comparison, men missed
an average of 18 hours per year.
The ISQ has not investigated whether the Pay Equity Act, RSQ, c E-12.001, could
have played a part in the narrowing of the female wage deficit.
Enacted in 2005, the purpose of the Pay Equity Act is to
redress, within an enterprise, differences in compensation due to
the systemic gender discrimination suffered by persons who occupy
jobs in predominantly female sectors of economic activities.
The Act to amend the Pay Equity Act,
tabled by the Minister of Labour as legislation designed to
"strengthen the Pay Equity Act", came into force
on May 28, 2009. Whereas before, enterprises merely had a general
obligation to ensure that pay equity was maintained, enterprises
are now required to conduct a pay equity audit every five years and
post the results, including a summary of the audit process, a list
of the predominantly female job classes identified in the
enterprise, a list of the predominantly male job classes used as
comparators, and for each predominantly female job class, the
percentage or amount of the compensation adjustments to be paid and
the terms and conditions applicable to their payment.
The complexities of pay equity legislation can
generate significant financial costs for companies subject to its
application. However, despite these efforts, men are nonetheless
still earning considerably more than women on weekly average wages
and it might take a number years before gender-based differences in
compensation are significantly reduced.
In collaboration with Marie Dupuis, student
at Norton Rose Canada LLP
About Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP (FMC)
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