Closing the Wage Gap: SEIU women leaders take to Dundas Square to call for pay equity

On average, women still earning 29% less than men in Ontario

TORONTO, March 7, 2013 /CNW/ - More than 100 women leaders of SEIU, Canada's largest healthcare union, will form a flash mob at  Dundas Square tomorrow morning to raise awareness of the 29% wage gap between men and women in Ontario.  Ontario's pay gap between men and women is one of the highest in the Western world.

The flash mob, which will kick off SEIU's 2013 Women's Leadership Conference, will lead into a weekend of International Women's Day activities, which is celebrated annually on March 9th.

The SEIU women, who will be wearing bright purple union t-shirts, will be joined by Cheri DiNovo, MPP for Parkdale-High Park and NDP Critic for Women's Issues. They'll perform the flash mob in Dundas Square at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, March 8th.

"Too many people think the wage gap between men and women is a thing of the past," said Sharleen Stewart, President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). "It's unacceptable that, in 2013, women on average in Ontario are taking home less than two-thirds of what men earn. On Friday morning, we are taking a stand against this inequity."

Bringing home substantially less pay than men follows women throughout their lives, putting them at a higher risk of poverty. Today, 42% of elderly women in Ontario are living in poverty.

"I'm so excited to join the women of SEIU as they stand for basic human rights and equality," said Cheri DiNovo, NDP Critic for Women's Issues. "It's time our government delivered on their promise to close the pay gap once and for all. Some of our best and brightest are women, and it's shameful that Ontario's pay gap is one of the highest in the Western world."

The province's Pay Equity Act and Human Rights Code strive to guarantee that women workers will not be denied equal treatment in compensation because of their gender. Despite these legal obligations, women on average continue to face a significant wage gap compared to men.

For more information on SEIU's pay equity campaign, visit

About SEIU Local 1 Canada

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1 Canada, the country' largest healthcare union, represents more than 50,000 healthcare and community services workers in Ontario.  SEIU members, more than 85% of whom are women, work in hospitals, home care, nursing and retirement homes and community services throughout the province. SEIU Local 1 Canada has a strong track record of achieving fair wages, benefits and safe working conditions for front-line healthcare workers, as well as strengthening standards in patient and client care.

SOURCE: Service Employees International Union Local 1 Canada

For further information:

Sagal Ali
905-695-1767 ext 3079
Cell: 416 347 4906

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Service Employees International Union Local 1 Canada

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