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CUPE Ontario president to help take Equal Pay Day message to the street

TORONTO, Ont. – A new report shows the wage gap between women and men has grown to 31.5 percent and that needs to change, says Fred Hahn, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Ontario, who will be taking to the streets of Toronto tomorrow during an Equal Pay Day event at University and College.

"Women in Ontario are still paid substantially less than men. A quarter century after passing the Pay Equity Act, we're still having to take employers before the pay equity commission on behalf of CUPE members, the majority of whom are women," says Hahn.

Studies show women continue to be paid less, even when their skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions are similar to men's. Racialized women, Aboriginal women and women with disabilities face the greatest discrimination. The gap grew from 28 percent in 2010 to 31.5 percent in 2011, according to a new report from the Equal Pay Coalition.

"The gap is smaller in unionized workplaces, but we still have work to do," says Hahn. "So does the government. Right now, for example, no party in the legislature is standing up for a minimum wage above the poverty line. Ensuring a fair minimum wage would go a long way to closing the gender pay gap."

The event on Wednesday morning is being organized by the Equal Pay Coalition. Participants will begin handing out leaflets and buttons to raise awareness at 10:30 a.m


WHAT: Equal Pay Day leafleting and speakers
WHERE: Northeast corner of University Avenue and College Street, Toronto
WHEN: Leafleting from 10:30, speakers at 11:30
SPEAKERS INCLUDE: Fred Hahn, President, CUPE Ontario, Mary Cornish, Chair, Equal Pay Coalition, Kelly O'Sullivan, Chair, CUPE Ontario Health Care Workers Coordinating Committee, Diana O'Brien, UFCW 1000a, Holly Marsh, child care worker at U of T Mississauga Early Learning Centre              

Equal Pay Day events will also take place in Kingston, London, Ottawa and Windsor. For more information about Equal Pay Day and pay equity, visit equalpaycoalition.org and cupe.on.ca.

CUPE is Ontario's community union, with members providing the quality public services we all rely on, in every part of the province, every day. CUPE Ontario members are proud to work in social services, health care, municipalities, school boards, universities and airlines.

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For further information:

Craig Saunders, CUPE Communications                      416-576-7316            

CUPE Ontario 80 Commerce Valley Drive E. Suite 1, Markham, ON, L3T 0B2