Surrey South MLA Stephanie Cadieux introduced her Equal Pay Certification Act in the legislature this week. (BCLibCaucus YouTube screenshot)

Surrey South MLA Stephanie Cadieux introduced her Equal Pay Certification Act in the legislature this week. (BCLibCaucus YouTube screenshot)

B.C. MLA calls for equal pay in the workplace

Applause greets Surrey South politician’s quest to close economic gap

Surrey South Liberal MLA Stephanie Cadieux has called for a law that will close the wage gap between men and women.

In the legislature Monday, Cadieux – a South Surrey resident first elected in 2009 – introduced her Equal Pay Certification Act, receiving unanimous support to send the bill for second reading at the next sitting of the House.

“Whichever stat you use, the reality is that women are paid less than men, and the gap exists in every province, major occupational group and has only slightly improved over my working lifetime,” Cadieux told Speaker Darryl Plecas, “despite the fact that education levels for women have surpassed men, and the percentage of women in the workforce has grown from 42 to nearly 60 per cent.

“At the current rate of change, the global economic gender gap won’t be closed for another 170 years.”

Cadieux 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.”

“The same study estimated that… Canada would likely see a $105 billion growth in GDP if we closed the gap,” Cadieux said.

Cadieux said leadership from legislators “to help shift attitudes and behaviours” is key in making gender parity in the workplace a reality.

“Acknowledge that gender stereotypes and subtle sexism are a part of the problem, and challenging the status quo,” she said.

If enacted, the legislation “would require firms to proactively rectify wage gaps on their payroll.”

Applause followed the vote to give Cadieux’s bill first reading.

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