Canada as Chair of EPIC: Highlights From the First Year

8 Dec 2022

As Canada is approaching its one-year anniversary of being Chair of the EPIC Steering Committee, I would like to highlight some of the considerable achievements accomplished by the Coalition over the last 12 months.

Being Chair of this vibrant Coalition has been an honor for Canada. I personally have numerous takeaways from events led by EPIC. The peer-to-peer exchange organised with stakeholders from Ukraine in October 2022 first comes to mind. In the context of the development of Ukraine’s National Strategy on Reducing of Gender Pay Gap, the national constituents wanted to discuss with international colleagues policy areas where advice might be needed, including possible changes to the national legislative and policy framework, best practices at the enterprise level, and addressing the challenges linked to the paid and unpaid care work. Colleagues from the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Canada shared their various perspectives on these issues. Whereas we were all cognizant of the hardship that Ukraine has been going through, this peer-to-peer event allowed us to convey our outmost respect and admiration to our Ukrainian colleagues for ensuring that equal pay remains high on the political agenda through these difficult times.

The first regional conference that took place in October in the Asia-Pacific region is also a key milestone. Stakeholders from the region discussed pay transparency measures in New Zealand, Australia, Japan and the Republic of Korea at both the public policy and company level. I would like to reiterate my invitation to stakeholders from the Asia-Pacific to consider joining EPIC in order for us to better understand the diverse perspectives in the region.

Recently, we also had a technical meeting on “Reducing gender pay inequalities in the health and care sectors through evidence-based solutions.” Looking at equal pay issues through a sectoral lens is also considerably important. This event was timely as the pandemic shed the light on the crucial importance of the health and care sector and on the need to address its gender pay gap and challenging working conditions (please see the ILO-WHO report on this issue). In addition, given that a vast majority of enterprises in this sector are Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), the session highlighted that there is also a specific role that the private sector and MSMEs play, especially as principal employers of women at the low end of the wage distribution.

The role of the private sector in advancing equal pay is an avenue that Canada would like to explore further within EPIC in the coming year. Let me extend an invitation to companies and employers’ organizations from all over the world to consider becoming members of EPIC and joining their voices to the on-going discussions on equal pay. Please see the EPIC one-pager on why the private sector should join the Coalition.

In light of these great outcomes, Canada looks forward to everything we will accomplish together during the second year of our term as Chair. Let me seize this opportunity to warmly thank colleagues from the EPIC Secretariat for their support and relentless work. Our colleagues from the ILO, OECD and UN Women are working so hard behind the scene to make EPIC the successful endeavour that it is today. And their efforts combined with the engagement of EPIC’s Members bring us closer to making equal pay for work of equal value a reality for all.

Rakesh Patry, Chair, EPIC Steering Committee