Alberta Budget 2015

March 4, 2015 10:46 pm
Updated: March 19, 2015 12:27 am

Women earn about 40% less than men in Alberta: report

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WATCH ABOVE: According to a new report, the wage gap between men and women in our province is heading in the wrong direction. Tom Vernon reports.

EDMONTON — The wage gap between men and women in Alberta is heading in the wrong direction, according to a new report from the Parkland Institute.

According to the report, in Alberta, full-time working women earn about 37 per cent less per year than men. When comparing the average total income in Alberta, women earn about 42 per cent less per year than men.

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“Things aren’t going well for women in Alberta,” said Ricardo Acuna, the executive director of the Parkland Institute.

The gender wage gap in Alberta is the largest in Canada, according to the report titled The Alberta Disadvantage: Gender, Taxation, and Income Inequality. In comparison, the gender wage gap for full-time earners sits at about 20 per cent in Saskatchewan, 25 per cent in Quebec and 26 per cent in Ontario.

Acuna says the wage gap has been growing since 1993 and he worries the looming provincial budget will only make things worse.

“Right now the premier is talking about changing things around, he’s talking about maybe cutting what we’re spending on the civil service, maybe rolling back civil service salaries,” he explained. “These are jobs that are predominantly held by women.”

READ MORE: Alberta Premier Jim Prentice looks to overhaul bargaining with civil servants

To turn the trend around, the report says the province needs to move away from the flat tax, which hits low income earners the hardest.

Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley says another big step would be creating more affordable child care spaces, giving women a better opportunity to participate in the economy.

“We are not doing enough to support families, and so women end up being the default people who make those sacrifices to do that,” said Notley.

Human Services Minister Heather Klimchuk says to help close the gap, the government is encouraging women to train for higher paying industrial careers, and she says they’re starting to see success.

“We know in the construction industry between 2004 and 2014 it was 76.6 per cent growth,” said Klimchuk. “I’m thinking of the Women Building Futures program, which is a fantastic program.”

The Parkland Institute suggests another factor in the wage gap is the majority of the high-paying industrial jobs in Alberta are held by men, which is why the government is encouraging more women to seek careers in those fields.

The report said gender income gaps are larger in Calgary than in Edmonton.

Read the full report below:

The Alberta Disadvantage: Gender, Taxation, and Income Equality

© 2015 Shaw Media

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