OCASI responded to the Gender Wage Gap Strategy Consultation undertaken by the Government of Ontario by highlighting the exclusion experienced by racialized immigrant and refugee women, and making six recommendations for systemic change.
OCASI made the following recommendations:
Mandatory Employment Equity: Bring back mandatory employment equity in Ontario to level the playing field for all racialized communities and other historically disadvantaged groups. Establish an Equity in Employment Secretariat which is fully mandated and adequately resourced in order to ensure merit-based employment across the province through the implementation of mandatory & comprehensive employment equity programs.
Disaggregated Data: Require all Ministries and departments to collect and track disaggregated data of their workplace in order to identify racialized and other structural and systemic disadvantage. Require all Ministries and departments to clearly identify goals and specific benchmarks and indicators to monitor the progress of the hiring, promotion, and pay as it relates to racialized and other historically disadvantaged and marginalized communities. Such measures and indicators need to be identified and captured on a cross-sectoral basis, and for labour market related differentials in particular, while establishing goals and indicators that address racialized inequity specifically.
Reform Labour Relations Act: Introduce legislative changes with a view to increase unionization, particularly in sectors with significant representation of women, racialized and immigrant workers, and to strengthen all workers' right to collective bargaining across all industries and workplaces.
Investment in Equity: Each year, the Province of Ontario is engaged in millions of dollars worth of contract negotiations. Provincial investments, allocations and commitments can be used as leverage to make businesses across Ontario implement equity based hiring practices.
Inclusion Audit: Require both public and private employers to conduct an inclusion audit of the workplace on an annual basis in order to identify and address any obstacles to equal employment and equal pay within the workplace.
A Collaborative and Coordinating Approach to Promoting Equity in Employment: The Pay Equity Commission and the Ontario Human Rights Commission should work together to develop joint initiatives and strategies to promote equity in employment in Ontario. Such initiatives may include joint study and/or inquiry into workplace discrimination, or joint publication on related topics.