The gender wage gap in Canada continues to persist, with women earning 23 per cent less in total income than men in 2020, according to a report by ADP Canada Co.

Surveyed Canadian working men were significantly more likely to make more than $80,000 in pre-tax salary, while working women were more likely to make between $30,000 and $50,000, found the report. And while women’s pre-tax salaries remain 21 per cent lower than men’s, where the disparity surges is in their additional variable compensation, such as bonuses, profit-sharing or equity agreements. In fact, women earned 43 per cent less in additional compensation compared to their male counterparts in 2020.

Read: ‘Substantial’ gender wage gap persists in Canada: study

Although these survey results were a small improvement over those collected for 2019, when women reported earning 24 per cent less in salary and 57 per cent less in additional compensation, it’s clear employers still have work to do to ensure fair compensation for all employees, the report found.

Working women were also less likely to believe gender parity is a priority for their organization than were men (69 per cent compared to 78 per cent, respectively), noted the report. And it revealed younger workers between ages 18 to 34 are more engaged than other age groups when it comes to issues of pay equity and equality in Canada, with most noting they’re willing to leave an organization that doesn’t support fair pay practices. As well, 50 per cent of respondents in that age group said they’d leave their organization if they found out a colleague of equal standing, but different gender, received higher compensation, compared to only 37 per cent for both the other age cohorts.

“The fact that women are more likely to seek out new employment amidst the pandemic, and that
younger workers are more willing to leave organizations that do not practice fair pay, indicates
expectations are rising when it comes to Canadian employers’ ability to address gender issues — including ongoing pay gap issues and the greater weight of pandemic-related factors,” said Natalka Haras, legal counsel at ADP Canada, in a press release about the report.

Read: Canada’s gender wage gap worse when including certain demographic traits: report

The report also showed limited options for school and childcare during the coronavirus pandemic has placed a strain on all working parents; however, working mothers were more heavily impacted. Half of working mothers (50 per cent) surveyed reported experiencing disproportionately high-stress levels due to balancing childcare obligations and work throughout the pandemic, compared to 40 per cent of their male counterparts. Additionally, 45 per cent of working women surveyed indicated working during the public-health crisis has had a negative impact on their mental health, compared to 37 per cent of men.

“During these challenging times, it is critical that Canadian organizations keep sight of gender issues how the demands of work and home can impact groups differently,” said Natalka Haras, legal counsel at ADP Canada, in the release. “Leaders should exercise empathy and compassion in the workplace to ensure that their employees — particularly working mothers — are provided with the necessary support mechanisms to allow them to thrive.”

The news comes after Canada’s new pay transparency legislation came into effect January 1, making it the first country to make wage gap information for women, Indigenous people, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities working in federally-regulated workplaces publicly available, according to a press release.

Read: New federal employment equity, safety legislation taking effect