Ontario Nurses’ Association Cheers Midwives’ Victory, Urges Provincial Government to End Legal Fight Against Pay Equity

June 30, 2020

TORONTO, June 30, 2020 – The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) congratulates the Association of Ontario Midwives (AOM) on a landmark ruling from Ontario’s Divisional Court, that upholds the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal’s decision that the Ministry of Health discriminated against the midwives on the basis of sex when setting their compensation. In the wake of this pay equity victory, ONA urges the provincial government to drop its prolonged legal fight against pay equity for female-dominated professions and instead truly value the vital work performed by nurses, midwives and other sex-segregated health-care professionals.

This decision confirms that the government has a proactive obligation to prevent systemic gender discrimination, which includes ensuring that funding policies, programs, and formulas are designed based on a substantive equality analysis, and regularly monitored. ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN congratulates the midwives on their perseverance and adds that nurses and health-care professionals stand in solidarity with them. She urges the province to end the legal actions against pay equity now.

“Now is the time for action, not litigation,” says ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN. “The province has spent many years and far too much money in the courts in battles that it repeatedly loses.”

McKenna urges the Ford government to turn its attention to ending gender discrimination and put an end to its futile battle. “The decision by Ontario Divisional Court to deny the province’s request for a judicial review of an earlier pay equity ruling is clear. This is 2020, gender discrimination against professions which are predominantly female is unacceptable.”

Ontario registered nurses working in private nursing homes face a similar, prolonged battle with government to maintain pay equity. Last year, ONA won a fight for pay-equity maintenance for these RNs with no male comparators in their workplace. The Ford government along with 143 private nursing homes have since appealed the decision, prolonging the now-14-year court battle. This heads to Ontario’s Court of Appeal in October. The Ford government has also passed wage-suppression legislation – Bill 124 – to hold wage increases to a total of one per cent for three years for nurses, while exempting male-dominated professions such as police and firefighters.

ONA is the union representing more than 68,000 registered nurses and health-care professionals, as well as more than 18,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.


For more information:

Sheree Bond 416-986-8240; shereeb@ona.org