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B.C. women made 83 cents for every $1 earned by men in 2023: report

An employee is seen in this undated image. (Shutterstock) An employee is seen in this undated image. (Shutterstock)
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B.C. continued to have one of the most significant gender pay gaps in Canada last year, with women earning 83 cents for every dollar men earned, according to a recent report from the province.

B.C. released its first pay transparency report this month, just over a year after the Pay Transparency Act passed in the province.

The report revealed women in B.C. earned 17 per cent less than men in 2023, with that pay gap disproportionately impacting women who are Indigenous, racialized, a newcomer, disabled or LGBTQ2S+. In fact, racialized women earned a median of 76 cents for every dollar men earned in B.C. last year.

B.C.'s Pay Transparency Report released June 2024.

While the pay gap did decrease in 2023, it was only by one cent compared to 2022, when women earned 82 cents for every dollar men earned.

The report also revealed the median hourly wage for full-time work was $35 for men and just $29.74 for women in 2023. That amounts to an annual difference of nearly $11,000.

"Our communities are stronger when everyone is treated fairly, and it will take collective action to create meaningful change," a joint statement from Minister of Finance Katrine Conroy and Kelli Paddon, parliamentary secretary for gender equity, said. "We are committed to working with employees and employers to ensure that everyone in B.C. receives equal pay for equal work, regardless of their gender, other identity factors or the sector they work in."

B.C. has one of the largest gender pay gaps in the country. Last year, B.C.'s gender pay gap was only lower than Newfoundland and Labrador's 19 per cent, and Alberta's gap of 24 per cent.

In PEI, the gap was non-existent in 2022 and, in 2023, women actually made $1.04 for every dollar men earned.

B.C.'s Pay Transparency Report released June 2024.

Pay gap varies by sector

The inaugural report broke down gender pay gaps by sector, explaining women were paid less than men in most. This was the case even in sectors that employed more women than men. The biggest gender pay gaps were in agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting, where women earned just 55 cents for every dollar men made.

"An overrepresentation of women in crop production – the sector's lowest paid subsector – may be why the gender pay gap remained as large as it had been since 2017," the report said. "In addition, men's wages in crop production increased most years following 2020, while women’s wages did not."

Only in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector did women earn more than men, the report showed.

B.C.'s Pay Transparency Report released June 2024.

Pay transparency legislated

B.C.'s Pay Transparency Act was passed on May 11, 2023, and requires employers to include expected pay or pay range in public job postings.

The act also prohibits employers from asking applicants what salary they've been paid in the past and requires employers to post pay transparency reports through a phased process. For example, Crown corporations and the B.C. government were required to post a pay transparency report by Nov. 1, 2023. This year, employers with 1,000 employees or more will be required to post their own report by Nov. 1 and, by Nov. 1, 2026, all employers with more than 50 employees will need to share a report.

The province released a "pay transparency reporting tool this month to help employers prepare their transparency reports. The province says reports must show the gaps in pay between gender categories, and provide mean and median statistics for hourly pay, bonus pay, overtime pay and overtime hours. 

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