Kelowna-Mission MLA Renee Merrifield re-introduces bill calling for gender pay equity

Merrifield pushes equal pay

Kelowna-Mission MLA Renee Merrifield is trying again to get gender pay equity entrenched in law in BC.

The Liberal Shadow Minister for Gender Equity and Inclusion re-introduced the Equal Pay Reporting Act in the legislature Wednesday.

Merrifield points out that despite promising to introduce the legislation more than six years ago, the NDP government has failed to address or support the Liberals’ initiation to break down the barriers that disproportionately impact women in this province.

BC remains as one of four provinces (along with Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland) that does not have pay transparency or pay equity laws. It ranks behind Newfoundland and Alberta for the third largest pay gap of the provinces, according to a Conference Board of Canada report.

Merrifield noted much more work is needed to build a truly equitable province for all.

Throughout her business career the Kelowna-Mission MLA said she made sure women had fair hours, time off, and equal pay for equal work.

On Women’s Day 2021, Merrifield told the legislature about a disappointing encounter she had with a male owner of her company,

“He looked at me and declared I would never be as good as of a business person as he was, while I thought it was because of a lack of knowledge or education and wanting to better myself or at least be self aware, I asked why, he looked at me, shrugged, and said, because you're a woman.”

She went on to explain the difficulties she and many other women have to deal with in order to be noticed and to prove themselves. Merrifield also highlighted how during the pandemic, women lost their jobs at a higher rate than men, yet also had to take on more childcare duties and housework.

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