Premier David Eby and Kelli Paddon, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity, have issued the following statement for International Women’s Day:
“On International Women’s Day, we celebrate all the women, girls, Two-Spirit and non-binary individuals in British Columbia. We recognize women are so often the cornerstone of our communities – and our economy.
“We have a long history of incredible women who have worked hard to make our society better and more welcoming for everyone. We also know that more work is needed to ensure everyone is treated equally in our province, regardless of gender.
“For this reason, we are very proud that yesterday our government introduced new pay transparency legislation for first reading in the legislature. This bill recognizes that many women are still paid less than men to do the same job. Pay transparency will help shine a light on B.C.’s gender pay gap and help move us closer to equal pay for equal work.
“We are grateful to the many people from the private and public sector, labour unions, non-profits, advocacy groups and Indigenous communities who shared their views on how we can best tackle the gender pay gap in British Columbia.
“The last few years have been challenging for everyone, but they have been especially hard for women. Women were disproportionately affected by the economic challenges of the pandemic and many also faced increases in gender-based violence during the crisis — a serious issue that persists.
“Our government has stepped up to help, and we’re going to continue to do so.
“We’ve introduced the BC Affordability Credit, which has helped 85% of British Columbians. Many families will also benefit from three enhanced BC Family Benefit payments this year, and in July 2023, the BC Family Benefit will be permanently increasing by 10%. On top of that, single parents will get as much as an extra $500 a year.
“We continue to expand access to affordable child care, which has allowed more women to join the workforce. Three-quarters of last year’s job growth in B.C. was driven by women’s employment. This reflects our government’s work to expand access to affordable and accessible child care. However, women are still all too often left out of high-paying, in-demand jobs. That’s why we’re improving training initiatives to close the skills gap.
“We are also delivering on our commitment to make prescription contraception free for all B.C. residents beginning April 1 – a first in Canada – because no one should face barriers to their own sexual and reproductive health.
“We can’t have true gender equity until everyone is free from violence. Work is underway to develop an action plan to address gender-based violence in British Columbia. At the same time, this is an urgent issue that demands action now.
“That’s why we’ve taken steps such as providing funding for community-based sexual assault response services, investing in safe housing and committing stable funding for more than 400 victim services and gender-based violence programs throughout the province. Our government is also moving forward with legislation to address the non-consensual sharing of intimate images, which is a form of malicious and exploitative sexualized violence.
“These past few years have reinforced that we are all in this together. It’s our shared responsibility to end all forms of discrimination and violence and build a better future for women, girls and Two-Spirit and non-binary people in British Columbia.”