Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau says Canada must do better in closing the gender gap in pay and workforce participation for the health of the economy.
Speaking to the Calgary Chamber on the recently released federal budget, Morneau says the numbers are startling as women still earn on an hourly basis 88 cents for every dollar earned by men.
He says Canada shouldn’t be content to sit eighth of 29 of OECD countries in terms of female workforce participation and 15th for equal pay for equal work.
Morneau says that it will be a challenge to close the gap between men’s 70 per cent workforce participation and women’s 61 per cent, but that closing half the gap could add two per cent to the economy.
The 2018 budget puts a large emphasis on gender equality, including through the introduction of up to five weeks of parental leave for fathers or non-birth parents to encourage greater sharing of child-rearing responsibilities.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made gender issues a central focus of the Liberal platform as well as a major theme of its G7 presidency.