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B.C.'s gender pay gap: Women made 83 cents for every $1 men earned

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A person works on a laptop in North Andover, Mass., THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Elise Amendola

Women in B.C. only earned 83 cents to every dollar a man earned in 2023, according to the province's pay transparency report.

And that gender pay gap widened – or in one case shrunk – when it came to intersectionality. 

In B.C., the gender pay gap was 17 per cent in 2023, following the implementation of the Pay Transparency Act, but it's still more than the national gap of 14 per cent. The gender pay gap is the difference in earnings between men, women and non-binary people. B.C.'s report uses the difference in median hourly pay received by women and non-binary people in comparison to men.

It was a "modest improvement" from 2022 when women earned 82 cents to every dollar a man earned. The report says it's too early to tell how the act influenced the gender pay gap in 2023.

However, that gender pay gap is different when it comes to intersecting identities, such as Indigenous women, racialized and newcomer women, and people with gender-diverse identities. 

Non-racialized women were the only group to see a smaller gender pay gap at 88 cents in 2023. Newcomer women made 81 cents for every dollar a man made, followed by 80 cents for Indigenous women and 76 cents for racialized women. 

When it came to 2SLGBTQIA+ workers, lesbian, bisexual or pansexual women had lower personal median incomes than heterosexual populations: 35 per cent less than heterosexual men and two per cent less than heterosexual women. But the median personal income of lesbian, bisexual or pansexual women in B.C. was four per cent higher than the rest of Canada. 

Gay, bisexual or pansexual men, however, had the lowest personal income in comparison to lesbian, bisexual or pansexual women. The report notes it may be partly due to other intersectional differences, such as 2SLGBTQIA+ men were more likely to be racialized, Indigenous or newcomers to B.C.

The report adds that separated data on two-spirit, transgender or non-binary people was unavailable due to small sample sizes. it used personal median income as its base. 

Part-time and full-time work also contribute to B.C.'s gender pay gap, with 12 per cent of working men working part-time in 2023, compared to 25 per cent of women. While women who worked part-time earned slightly more per hour than men who worked part-time, it's because women who work part-time were in retail, accommodation and food services, and the slightly higher-paying healthcare and social assistance sectors. 

But since 2017, men are more likely than women to work full-time. The report adds men have also been paid "substantially more for it," and between 2017 and 2023 there were almost 20 per cent more men working full-time. 

While healthcare and social assistance were two of the higher-paying sectors for part-time employment, when it comes to full-time work it's one of the lower-paying sectors. 

In 2023, 50 per cent of full-time working women were employed in healthcare, social assistance, retail and education. Healthcare and social assistance paid women up to 30 per cent less than B.C.'s median wage, while education paid about 19 per cent more. 

However, full-time working men mostly worked in higher-paying sectors, such as construction, manufacturing, scientific and technical sectors. They paid men anywhere between 13 and 59 per cent more than the median wage of $30.

B.C.'s Pay Transparency Act placed several requirements on B.C. employers "to help close the gender pay gap and address systemic discrimination."

Beginning May 11, 2023, employers cannot ask job applicants to disclose their remuneration from previous employers and employers cannot punish employees who ask about pay transparency or reveal their pay to other employees or job applicants. As of Nov. 1, 2021 employers must also include the expected pay or pay range in public job postings. 

Employers above certain sizes must also post pay transparency reports by Nov. 1 of each year.