The gender pay gap can be measured in different ways. According to Statistics Canada (2022), as of 2021, the gender pay gap for full-time and part-time employees is 0.89, which means women make 89 cents of every dollar men make. The gender pay gap for full-time employees is 0.90, which means women make 90 cents of every dollar men make.
According to Statistics Canada (2021), as of 2019, the gender pay gap for annual wages, salaries, and commissions is 0.71, which means that on an annual basis, women make 71% of what men make.
The gender pay gap persists even though women now outnumber men in pursuing university degrees (Statistics Canada, 2021). Women who graduate university with a bachelor’s degree earn an average of $69,063 annually, while men who graduate with a bachelor’s degree earn $97,761 (Statistics Canada, 2016).
According to an ADP and Leger (2021) self-report survey, “women’s pre-tax salaries remain 21% lower than men’s, while additional variable compensation, such as bonuses, profit-sharing or equity agreements, are where disparity surges, with Canadian working women earning 43% less in additional compensation compared to men in 2020.”
More men (87%) are employed full-time than women (75.6%). Only 13% of men are employed part time, and 24.4% of women are employed part time (Statistics Canada, 2022). This could partially be a result of the fact that more of women’s time is taken up with unpaid work than men. Women spend an average of 3.6 hours or 15% of their day on unpaid domestic and care work compared to the average of 2.4 hours or 10% of the day that men that spend on unpaid work (Statistics Canada, 2019).
This disproportionate share of unpaid work is supported by evidence that “women have heighted perceptions of time pressure” – that is, both “awareness of not having enough time” and the “experience of hectic pace, harriedness, and rushing, accompanied by apprehension and frustration” (Moyser and Burlock, Statistics Canada, 2018).
Institute for Gender and the Economy (2019) says: “People looking to get ahead in their jobs must often work long hours, but the gendered allocation of family responsibilities prevents women from being able to do this. As a result, jobs requiring employees to work long hours produce some of the largest wage gaps.”
Men are also well represented in higher-paid sectors and jobs compared to women. Sixty-four per cent of management jobs are occupied by men, compared to the 35.6% occupied by women. And men are highly represented in trades, manufacturing, and natural and applied sciences, which tend to be well-compensated and more likely to benefit from union protections (Statistics Canada, 2022).
Women are concentrated in underpaid, precarious occupations involving the “5 Cs”: caring, clerical, catering, cashiering, and cleaning. “Many of the women working in these sectors are racialized, immigrant, migrant, and/or undocumented. They are concentrated in the lowest paying and most precarious of caring jobs” (Canadian Women’s Foundation, 2020).
Still, “wage gaps occur across all sectors and all education levels” (Lambert and McInturff, 2016). For example, women executives make about 56% less on average than men executives. The gap widens even further for racialized women, who make about 32% less than non-visible minority women (Longpré-Verret and Richards, Statistics Canada, 2021).
There has been a narrowing of the gender pay gap over time. In 2018, the largest factors explaining the gap were “the distribution of women and men across industries, and women’s overrepresentation in part-time work.” But nearly two-thirds of the gap was unexplained—for this portion, possible explanations include gender differences in work experience, “as well as unobservable factors, such as any gender-related biases” (Pelletier et al., Statistics Canada, 2018).