CCPA report: less wage discrimination in the public sector for women, aboriginals and visible minorities

A new study published by the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) entitled Narrowing the Gap: The difference that public sector wages make reports that when comparing similar occupations, the differences in wages between the public and the private sectors are negligible. The report also finds that there is less wage discrimination for women, aboriginals, and visible minorities in the public sector compared to the private sector.

The report utilized data from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada for its findings.

The study makes its finding by comparing the wages of full-time public and private sector workers and determines that significant gaps exist for women, aboriginal workers, and visible minority workers.

Those gaps are greater in the private sector for the following groups:

  • University educated Aboriginal women make 44% less than their non-aboriginal peers in the private sector. In the public sector, this wage gap reduces to 14%.
  • University educated women working for the private sector earn 27% less than men. Their wage gap in the public sector is 18%.
  • University educated visible minority workers take home 20% less than their non-visible minority counterparts. In the public sector, their wage gap is 12%.

The report finds that salaries are higher in the public sector for these groups because they experience more discrimination in the private sector. In fact, the report concludes that the public sector is correcting these gaps and alleviating discriminatory practices.

Full-time wages in public sector jobs are only 2.3 per cent higher than those in the private sector for these groups.

The report concludes that there are many factors that contribute to lower levels of wage discrimination in the public sector:

  • Unionization
  • Pay equity legislation
  • Access to benefits such as paid parental leave, family leave, and sick leave

Read the full report here.


October 30, 2014