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EDMONTON – As Canada celebrates its first ever Gender Equality Week from Sept. 23-29, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees is calling on the provincial government to introduce wage equity legislation.

Alberta currently has one of the worst gender wage gaps in the country, with women making 63 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts, a problem wage equity legislation would help alleviate.

“Roughly three-quarters of AUPE members are women,” said Bonnie Gostola, AUPE Vice-President and Chair of the union’s Pay and Social Equity Committee. “They and all working Albertans would benefit from wage equity legislation.”

Most provinces have enacted some form of wage equity legislation, including Ontario, Quebec, and Manitoba. Others like Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, and British Columbia have developed policy frameworks to address this issue. Alberta is the only province without either wage equity legislation or a policy framework.

“The Human Rights Act and certain federal regulations address wage equity, but without legislation at the provincial level you can’t really ensure wage equity is a reality,” said Gostola. “If the Government of Alberta is serious about gender equity and fairness at work, it needs to act now.”

Gostola also stressed the important role strong unions play in addressing wage equity.

“We always apply the principles of equal wages for work of equal value during the collective bargaining process,” she said. “When workers come together as a union they have the power to decrease or remove the gender wage gap through negotiations or pressure on their employer.

“But this often isn’t enough. That is why Alberta needs wage equity legislation now.”

The AUPE Pay and Social Equity Committee educates members and the public on issues related to wage equity and social reform and lobbies all orders of government to implement progressive legislation.

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For more information:

Alexander Delorme, AUPE communications officer: 780-930-3333

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