International Equal Pay Day — September 18, 2020

The day is intended to promote further action towards the achievement of equal pay for work of equal value.

Ottawa (16 Sept. 2020) – On November 15, 2019, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming September 18 as International Equal Pay Day. The resolution was introduced by the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC), with the support of Canada, Australia, Germany, Panama, New Zealand, South Africa and Switzerland. EPIC is led by the International Labour Organization, UN Women and partners. Its goal is to achieve equal pay for women.

The day is intended to promote further action towards the achievement of equal pay for work of equal value.

Gender pay gap persists

It is estimated that the gender pay gap is 23% globally. According to Statistics Canada, on average, full-time working women in Canada earn 32% less than men. This gap is wider for Indigenous women (35%), women with a disability (46%), and racialized women (33%). This gender pay gap is a major contributor to women’s poverty.

Gendered impact of COVID-19 pandemic 

The COVID-19 pandemic has also had a gendered impact. According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, 13% of all working women in Canada are at risk of layoff, compared to 9% of working men. Women disproportionally represent those in low-wage jobs and consequently are most at risk. This again displays the need for pay equity. As Canada moves into the recovery phase, it is imperative that all levels of governments use a gender-based analysis. Women must be included in all levels of consultation and decision-making to ensure that they are not left further behind as a result of the pandemic.

Global Call to Action

To recognize the first International Equal Pay Day, the Equal Pay International Coalition is hosting a virtual global Call to Action — Building back a better future of work by ensuring pay equity. The Call to Action is encouraging all labour market actors to take the necessary steps to ensure that equal pay is at the heart of recovery efforts worldwide.

Issues and Campaigns


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE