Equal Pay Day Statement

An equals sign ahead of a dollar sign and an exclamation mark, along with the text "Equal Pay Now"


On April 16, 2024 we mark Equal Pay Day which is a stark reminder of the ongoing fight for gender equality in the workplace in Canada and a call to rethink how we value labour as a society.

Equal Pay Day symbolizes the average additional time it takes for women in our country to earn what men did in the previous year, highlighting the persistent gender wage gap. For many women it may take even longer to achieve equal pay.

Facts reveal the undeniable reality of the gender wage gap and its impact on women’s economic security. In Canada, women earn approximately 68 cents for every dollar earned by men, with even wider gaps for Indigenous and Black women at 58 cents, and women with disabilities at 57 cents. This gap not only affects individual women but also has deep implications for families and communities, where cycles of inequality and poverty persist.

Equal Pay Day is a day rooted in action and advocacy as we strive to dismantle barriers that continue to allow employers to pay women less.

Today is also the Federal Budget day and equal pay is a pillar of feminist fiscal policy that is long overdue to level the playing field.

Whenever the issue of the persistent gender wage gap is mentioned, there are a ton of myths that inevitably surface. This misinformation is being used to slow progress and must be challenged.

One such myth is that the gender wage gap exists because women choose lower paying jobs. No one chooses to have their work undervalued and underpaid. This should go without saying. One of the primary causes of the gender pay gap is that jobs that are traditionally associated with ‘women’s work’ are underpaid. Think of any job in the ‘caring industry’ such as nurses, midwives, and long-term care workers. It isn’t that women choose jobs that are in lower-paid industries, it is that women-dominated industries become less respected and less well-paid occupations because women do the work.

Another misconception is that the pay gap only exists because women are bad at negotiating pay. Let’s be clear, it is not an individual woman’s responsibility to ensure that her human rights are being upheld. It is the responsibility of government and employers to do so, which is why Unifor and other organizations are fighting for pay transparency legislation.

Pay transparency legislation plays a crucial role in addressing wage disparities by promoting accountability and empowering workers to advocate for fair compensation. By requiring employers to disclose salary information, these laws enable employees to identify and challenge discriminatory pay practices.

In Canada, recent advancements in pay transparency legislation in Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, British Columbia and Ontario have laid the foundation for greater accountability and fairness in the workplace, signaling a positive step towards closing the gender wage gap.

Unifor calls on every province and territory to implement comprehensive pay transparency legislation.

However, pay transparency alone is not enough to achieve true pay equity. We must also address systemic inequalities rooted in discriminatory practices and biases. Pay equity legislation aims to eliminate gender-based wage disparities by ensuring that women receive equal pay for work of equal value. By evaluating and comparing jobs based on skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions rather than job titles, pay equity legislation promotes fairness and inclusivity in compensation practices.

Today, Unifor also calls on bargaining committees to be aware of negotiated Letters Of Understanding’s that state: “Parties agree that your workplace is Pay Equity Compliant and have met their legal obligations under the Pay Equity Act”. This language has a negative impact to the maintenance phase and retro payments that would be owed to women in the bargaining unit. Removing all barriers in collective agreements is one way to ensure Pay Equity is fully achieved for women.

One of the greatest equalizers to this injustice is women who belong to a union. Collective agreements lay out wage scales and are transparent for all members. Unions benefit women. Unifor is proud to be a union where women can thrive and grow without the many barriers faced by women in non-unionized workplaces.

Unifor supports the work of the Equal Pay Coalition and other groups organizing to make pay equity a reality. In solidarity, we also ask that you wear red and take a picture to share with the union, helping us show our collective support for pay transparency and the removal of all barriers to pay equity.

As we observe Equal Pay Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to gender equality and economic justice. Through collective action, advocacy, and solidarity, we can challenge stereotypes, dismantle barriers, and create workplaces where every worker is valued and compensated fairly. Together, we can build a future where women are paid equally to men in the same job providing us all with a more just and equitable society.

Unifor files applications to represent workers at two Amazon fulfilment centres

a group of people standing in front of a camera

April 10, 2024


VANCOUVER—The campaign for workers at Amazon facilities in Metro Vancouver to form a union has reached a pivotal stage today after Unifor filed two applications to the B.C. Labour Relations Board (BCLRB).

“Workers at Amazon are seeking job security, better health and safety, and fair wages,” said Unifor National President Lana Payne. “Forming a democratic union in their workplace is the path to improved conditions of work.”

After the BCLRB processes the application, it will determine if a vote must be held. If the cards submitted by Unifor represent at least 45% of the eligible workforce at a facility, a vote may be called within five business days. If the cards represent more than 55%, union certification is granted and work begins on a first collective agreement.

“We call on Amazon to respect the wishes of workers and avoid using the legal tricks and games it has played in the past to block unionization,” said Unifor Western Regional Director Gavin McGarrigle. “Unions are good for workers, and Amazon is no different.”

Applications were filed today for the fulfilment centres at 109 Braid Street in New Westminster and 450 Derwent Place in Delta. Unifor’s awareness campaign at Amazon facilities began on June 21, 2023. Card-signing began on October 19, 2023.

Workers at an Amazon facility first formed a union in April 2022 at the “JFK8” distribution centre on Staten Island in New York State.

Durham Regional Council renews dedication to transit funding following Unifor campaign

Source: Unifor National

April 10, 2024


Unifor is thrilled its Fund Durham Region Transit campaign propelled Durham Regional Council to reaffirm its dedication to working towards fully funding the 127% service growth needed – or 625,000 hours – for its transit system by 2032.

“Quality public transit systems create equitable, sustainable and vibrant communities that can benefit working communities across the country,” said Unifor National President Lana Payne.

“We are proud that the work of Unifor activists resulted in a commitment from Durham Region to continue to fund a vital lifeline for its growing population, which in turn supports good jobs for our members.”

The national union worked closely with Unifor Local 222 to put pressure on the region’s councillors on the transit and budget committees to make clear that without sufficient funding, Durham’s transit services will move from crisis-to-crisis, undermining public trust in transit.

This year, Durham Transit is expected to experience a projected ridership growth to 13.4 million passengers, exceeding peak-pre-pandemic ridership by 30%. The region’s population is also forecasted to reach around 1.3 million by 2051.

Last April, Durham Region identified the transit challenge before us. It announced a commitment to more than double bus service provided by the transit authority over the next decade, which would see service hours increase by 127% by 2032.

The approved reasonable 10-year plan also includes capital investments towards making the fleet electric and the construction of new terminals.

We made it clear to Regional Council, that taxpayers demand and deserve tangible results for their tax dollars,” said Unifor Local 222 President Jeff Gray. “An enhanced transit system is not an option, it’s a responsible investment that ensures nobody from our region is left behind.”

During the Fund DRT campaign, hundreds of signatures were submitted to an online petition that went directly to councillors, mayors, and Durham’s Regional Chair. Unifor maintained a strong presence at the region’s Transit Executive Committee and budget meetings and spread the importance of the campaign through the union’s social media channels.

Several councillors indicated to Local 222 that they received a large response from the public through the Fund DRT campaign, which proves that the public wants a transit system they can rely on and that the funding for the population growth needs to be honoured.

“Our campaign for funding has made Councillors aware that Durham Region Transit needs to be a viable option for all members of the public and not just an option of last resort,” said Ian Sinnott, Local 222 Durham Region Transit Unit Chair.

“The campaign has also built solidarity amongst Durham Region Transit members, who are very appreciative of Unifor’s unwavering support.”

Unifor continues to call on all levels of government, including municipalities, to address the growing transit crisis and move to fill the funding shortfall.

MDA workers launch strike action at company’s global space headquarters

Source, Unifor National

April 9, 2024


BRAMPTON—Fifty workers at MDA’s new global headquarters and space robotics centre launched strike action on April 8 following the company’s refusal to negotiate.

“Fair wages shouldn’t be light years away for workers at an incredibly profitable company such as MDA,” said Unifor National President Lana Payne. “The facility houses some of the most skilled workers in the industry and they deserve a fair contract that reflects their contribution to MDA’s bottom line.”

Unifor represents 50 workers at the facility in a variety of production, skilled trades, office and clerical roles at MDA’s newly built global space headquarters in Brampton, Ontario. They support the company’s space robotics and satellite component manufacturing operations. MDA workers build components and help develop technologies for such iconic space projects as the Canadarm for the Space Shuttle program and the International Space Station. MDA is the future home of the third generation Canadarm for use in the Gateway lunar space station.

“All of us at MDA have been part of some of the most important and cherished scientific and technological projects in the last half century which is what makes this strike so painful for us,” said Sebastian Selvagio, Unifor Local 673 plant chairperson at MDA. “In the middle of an affordability crisis, we’re prepared to fight for the fair wages, reasonable cost of living protection, and decent pensions we have rightly earned.”

With the construction of its new Brampton facility, the company sought significant changes to the existing agreement which expired October 1, 2023.  Only a few of the 28 days in negotiations between both parties were spent addressing core economic issues, prompting the union to set a strike deadline for Monday April 8 at 7 a.m. The union requested that both parties negotiate up until the negotiating deadline, however, the company refused to participate.

“MDA’s profits are soaring and CEO Mike Greenly could give himself a 20% pay increase because our members do incredible work every single day,” said Bryan Dunn, Unifor Local 112 plant chairperson at MDA. “It is disrespectful for MDA to refuse to negotiate when we’ve shown nothing but dedication to this company. The company could easily afford the proposals we’ve tabled during bargaining.”

According to MDA’s 2023 financial statements, the company earned more than $807 million in revenue, a significant portion of which is funded by large government contracts, including a federal funding of $2 billion for the Canadarm3 project. MDA also regularly receives generous provincial and federal subsidies, including approximately $25 million from the Ontario government to fund its newly constructed global space headquarters and $132.7 million in available federal investment tax credits.

The union is dedicated to negotiating a fair settlement to the ongoing labour dispute, however, the company has given no indication that it will return to the bargaining table.

Unifor ratifies agreement with CN Autoport

Source: Unifor National


HALIFAX— Unifor members at CN Autoport have ratified a three-year collective agreement, ending a 37-day strike at the transshipment facility in Eastern Passage, N.S.

“This was a very difficult strike for our members and a very tough round of bargaining given that CN decided to undermine our fundamental right to strike and to bargain fairly and freely by using scabs as of day one of the dispute. It was and is disgraceful behaviour, designed to intimidate and break the spirit of our Local 100 members,” said Lana Payne, Unifor National President. “I am very proud of our members. Their spirit was not broken. They have shown courage and dignity in standing up to the bully tactics of CN Autoport. They have shown that solidarity makes a difference. And CN can be guaranteed that Unifor will not rest until we achieve anti-scab legislation in every province across Canada.”

The agreement sees wage increases in each year of the agreement and lump sum bonuses in years one and two, as well as an additional paid personal day, improvements to vacation, pensions, and the cost of benefits.

Atlantic Regional Director Jennifer Murray vows to continue to work with Unifor members at Autoport and across Nova Scotia to get provincial anti-scab legislation on the books to support workers’ right to fair and free collective bargaining.

“We will continue this campaign in the names of our members at Local 100 and we won’t stop until we win,” said Murray.

Unifor continues to advocate for the immediate passage of Bill C-58 federal anti-scab legislation.

Unifor Local 100 represents 239 employees at the Autoport vehicle processing and transshipment hub in Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia. A wholly owned subsidiary of CN Rail, Autoport is one of the busiest facilities of its kind in North America, processing and transshipping close to 185,000 vehicles annually.

“This agreement marks a solid step forward for Autoport workers,” said Cory Will, President of Unifor Local 100. “We can take pride in knowing we have fought back and got a better agreement for our members.”