Then Now Next: Ontario’s Strategy for Women’s Economic Empowerment
A summary of our three-year strategy to challenge gender bias and remove barriers faced by women at work, at home, and in their communities.
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It’s time for all women’s economic empowerment. Because it’s fair, and because it means a stronger, more inclusive economy.
It’s time to close the gender wage gap, particularly where it is greatest—for Indigenous, newcomer and racialized women, and women with disabilities.
It’s time for a comprehensive plan that recognizes economic empowerment isn’t a quick fix and it isn’t one-size-fits-all. It means equitable wages, a wider range of career options, and learning new skills. It means support in starting or growing a new business, or taking on a leadership position. It means diverse roles at home and in the workplace are truly valued.
Summary of the strategy
Then Now Next: Ontario’s Strategy for Women’s Economic Empowerment lays out a three-year plan to increase gender equity, challenge bias and eliminate barriers women face at work, at home and in their communities.
Uncovering and Closing Pay Gaps
- Introducing historic and wide-reaching legislation that would set the stage to require employers to disclose employee pay based on gender and other characteristics
- Increasing pay transparency at hiring, providing line of sight and empowering women to bargain for a fair wage
- Strengthening Ontario’s pay equity office to improve compliance
Empowering Women Workers and Leaders
- Expanding and strengthening Women’s Centres, which provide low-barrier, wrap-around supports to women rebuilding their lives, including those experiencing violence as well as immigrant and racialized women
- Implementing Get on Board: Ontario’s Implementation Plan to Promote Women in Corporate Leadership to increase the number of women on public and private-sector boards
- Reinforcing this work, by leveraging government buying power to encourage large firms that sign new government contracts to reach the target of 30 per cent women on private-sector boards
- Removing barriers to Indigenous women’s leadership through targeted programming, developed with Indigenous partners
- Investing in opportunities for mentorship and networking for women who face higher barriers, including newcomer and racialized women
- Establishing an Ontario Women’s Entrepreneurship Association to increase women’s access and opportunity to scale-up and expand ventures
- Building supports and training for women founders and entrepreneurs
- Expanding mentorship programs for female sport coaches
- Expanding and developing youth leadership and young entrepreneur programs, to unlock opportunities for girls in the economy
- Researching and developing ways to support women returning to the workforce after absences, including time taken for eldercare and family responsibilities
- Working with the federal government to deliver enhanced parental leave and advocating for strengthened benefits
- Increasing social awareness and education to break down stereotypes, and recognize the value of labour frequently performed by women
- Delivering financial literacy training for senior women, who may experience new realities like budgeting on a single or pension income
- Introducing gender-based analysis in the Ontario government to ensure policy and action remove barriers, instead of reinforcing them
Ontario is building on a strong foundation of action, including:
- Increasing choice for parents by transforming our early years and child care system—helping the families of 100,000 more children aged 0-4 access licensed child care over the next five years, implementing full day kindergarten and expanding before- and after-school care
- Getting more women out of poverty by introducing a fair minimum wage as part of historic action to help workers
- Removing barriers to postsecondary education with the new OSAP