Today is International Women’s Day – a day to celebrate the progress made by women not only in Canada, but around the world. And there is much to be proud of. Right here in Ontario, a woman has risen to lead this great province of ours.
But there is still work left to be done.
In Canada, a woman working full time makes 73.5 cents for every dollar a man makes. I don’t have to tell you how sad and troubling that statistic is. This wage gap is unacceptable. I don’t just say that as the MPP for Barrie, but also as a mother and a grandmother.
But my spirit is made hopeful by the fact Premier Kathleen Wynne and all the amazing Liberal caucus members – both female and male – are working hard to make this gap a thing of the past. Under the premier’s leadership, we are striving daily to improve the economic and social situation of girls and women.
Last year, we established a Gender Wage Gap Strategy Steering Committee to consult with the public and experts right across the province. This work wrapped up last month, and now the committee is developing recommendations aimed at businesses, governments, unions and working Ontarians.
It’s this type of leadership that a premier like Kathleen Wynne has been able to bring to Queen’s Park. She is such a tremendous example for young women living in Barrie who should be able to grow up believing they can do and be anything that they wish to be.
But what makes her a great woman and inspiration isn’t the fact she has accomplished so much. What makes her truly great is her motivation and desire to improve the lives of all Ontarians. Under her leadership, the province is helping
women access better jobs through major investments in education, training, full-day kindergarten and child care. We have also increased the Ontario Child Benefit and raised the minimum wage.
Premier Wynne has also pushed for legislation to end sexual violence and harassment in the workplace. Around 28 per cent of women say they’ve been the target of unwanted sexual advances at work, or been the subject of inappropriate conversations. The new law will eliminate this, protecting women against unwanted advances. It will put in place the policies and tools needed to make every workplace in Ontario a truly safe one.
It’s another example of the progress we are making.
On this International Women’s Day, I’m proud of the steps taken by the province to address barriers women face, and strengthen the economic opportunities available for women now and for future generations.
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