BC Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Award

BWSS is honoured to receive the BC Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Award

BWSS is honoured to receive the BC Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Award

Attorney General Niki Sharma and Mable Elmore, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives, awarded Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS) with a Breaking Barriers Award, for our work in tackling systemic and institutional racism and reducing barriers for marginalized communities.

The 2023 British Columbia Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Awards Ceremony was held privately on March 21, 2023, on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

The ceremony was so inspiring; congratulations to all the other nominees and award recipients. And thank you to all the wonderful people that nominated us. We thank you so much.

94,736 is the alarming number of times someone experiencing domestic or sexualized violence has reached out to BWSS, between March 2020 to March 2022.

Battered Women’s Support Services has been at the forefront of the national conversation about domestic and sexualized violence against women since 1979.

The founding women at BWSS recognized that gender-based violence does not only take place between two individuals in isolation, but, rather, in a social context and a world view that systemically reinforces the power of some people to oppress others, including through gender, race, ability, citizenship, sexuality, and more.

BWSS continues to work to deepen the understanding of gender-based violence, beyond the narrative of the perfect victim, and to break barriers and exclusions in the delivery of anti-violence programs and services.

BWSS is committed to all victims and survivors of gender-based violence.

BWSS continues to address systemic racism and to increase access and safety for Indigenous, Black, newcomer immigrant/refugee, amongst many others.

Angela Marie MacDougall, Executive Director of BWSS, says: “Receiving the Breaking Barriers Award is recognition of our work on gender-based violence, and the intersection of racism as established by the founding women of BWSS in 1979. There is no universal victim of domestic or sexualized violence, and so we link arms with our communities of survivors across B.C. to support and continue our work on ending gender-based violence and racism.”

The honour of receiving the Breaking Barriers Award comes ahead of an upcoming launch of BWSS’s revised legal advocacy program.

This program will support increased access to justice, including culturally-appropriate, multilingual legal information, education and supports for racialized women and gender-diverse survivors of gender-based violence in B.C.

The program represents a significant investment in the fight against systemic oppression, and will serve as a powerful tool for driving change and creating a more just and equitable future for survivors.

Province celebrates B.C.’s diversity champions

Multiple forms of oppression are simultaneous and cannot be separated from one another; ending gender-based violence requires dismantling racism and all structural oppression.

This is why we work from an intersectional, anti-racist, decolonial and feminist perspective to eliminate gender-based violence and promote gender equity.

Responding to gender-based violence through working to end racism is challenging, but necessary.

Our report Colour of Violence: Race, Gender & Anti-Violence Services explores the extent to which gender and race influence system-based responses to gender-based violence.

BWSS Commemorates the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

BWSS Commemorates the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

BWSS Commemorates the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

March 21, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, marks the anniversary of the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre in South Africa when police opened fire on hundreds of South Africans protesting Apartheid’s passbook laws, killing 67 and wounding 186.

Though largely unknown, it is important to remember that the apartheid laws introduced by South African governments were adapted from Canadian colonial polices, including the reserve system, pass system, and Indian Act.

Canada’s very inception and living history is one marked by settler-colonial genocide targeting Indigenous women and two spirit people, enslavement of Black people, and mass migrant exclusion since the Chinese Exclusion Act and Komagata Maru.

During the pandemic and with the racist and misogynist so-called “Freedom Convoy” in Ottawa, there has been escalating racism against Indigenous, Black, Asian, Muslim, migrant/refugee and other racialized communities, especially racialized women and gender-diverse people. For example, more than two-thirds of recent reported victims of anti-Asian racism are women.


Why We Center Anti-Racist Practice in our Anti-Violence Work

The founding women at BWSS recognized that gender-based violence does not only take place between two individuals in isolation, but, rather, in a social context and a world view that systemically reinforces the power of some people to oppress others, including through race, ability, citizenship, sexuality, and more.

Multiple forms of oppression are simultaneous and cannot be separated from another; ending gender-based violence requires dismantling racism and all structural oppression.

This is why we work from an intersectional, anti-racist, decolonial and feminist perspective to eliminate gender-based violence and promote gender equity.

Responding to gender-based violence through working to end racism is challenging, but necessary.

At BWSS, we are committed to addressing systemic racism that racialized survivors of gender-based violence experience and to increase access and safety for Indigenous, Black, newcomer immigrant/refugee, and racialized survivors of gender-based violence. White supremacy shapes our understanding of gender-based violence, produces the narrative of the perfect victim, and reinforces exclusions in the delivery of anti-violence programs and services.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada points out how “mainstream gender-based analysis fails to meaningfully address the social, political, and cultural realities of Indigenous women.”

This means that survivors of gender-based violence who are also racialized are often shut out of the institutional supports and services that are necessary for them to attain justice and healing.

According to our recent “Colour of Violence: Race, Gender & Anti-Violence Services” report, an alarming 78 percent of racialized survivors whom we surveyed said they felt never comfortable, almost never comfortable, or only sometimes comfortable contacting anti-violence services after experiencing gender-based violence. Racialized survivors reported that the police were the least helpful anti-violence response system, while most survey respondents said they relied on and found their informal network of friends and family to be the most helpful.

Indigenous, Black, newcomer immigrant/refugee, and racialized survivors face numerous barriers to accessing justice when they experience gender-based violence, such as lack of access to culturally safe services; mistrust of the legal system and other state systems; and being minimized or disbelieved. Indigenous, Black, and newcomer immigrant/refugee survivors face heightened barriers to justice as survivors of gender-based violence, including often being criminalized for reporting violence, having their children apprehended, or facing deportation.

We, at BWSS, have consistently noted “[O]veremphasizing a criminal justice response and largely ignoring social structures that contribute to violence against women in relationships can strengthen the social/structural underpinnings of oppression.

The model of intimate partner violence service provision, which has largely been developed from a white, able-bodied, heterosexual, middle-class woman’s perspective, is encouraged to become more inclusive by adding multicultural components. But simply adding inclusive components does not necessarily shift the perspective that anti-violence service provision was developed from.”

In our work at BWSS, we know that safety changes everything. We are motivated by the urgency of dismantling racism and the absolute necessity of placing Indigenous, Black, newcomer immigrant/refugee, and racialized survivors at the center of our anti-violence work.


Resource Spotlight for the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Earlier this month, BWSS launched our Gender Equity Learning and Knowledge Exchange providing a centralized hub for over 300 resources related to Gender-Based Violence from organizations across British Columbia, as well as key national and international resources.

Today, to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, we are spotlighting twelve resources from our Gender Equity Learning and Knowledge Exchange.

1. Colour of Violence: Race, Gender & Anti-Violence Services

A community-based research project by BWSS to better understand and raise awareness on the experiences of Indigenous, Black, newcomer immigrant/refugee, and racialized survivors accessing gender-based violence services in B.C.


2. The Road to Safety: Indigenous Survivors in BC Speak Out against Intimate Partner Violence during the COVID-19 Pandemic

This report by BWSS and BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centers highlights the experiences of Indigenous survivors in B.C experiencing intimate partner violence during the pandemic. For Indigenous women and gender diverse people, the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating the pre-existing reality of gendered colonial violence, and survey findings show that Indigenous women and gender diverse people are experiencing an increase in the frequency and severity of intimate partner violence (IPV).


3. Canada: Equality and Non-Discrimination with a Focus on Indigenous Women and Girls and Intersecting Forms of Discrimination

This report details the Union of BC Indian Chiefs submission to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women with an emphasis on how Indigenous women and girls living on Turtle Island experience destructive and intersecting forms of gender and racial discrimination that have been fostered, strengthened, and protected by colonial structures, institutions, and legal orders.


4. Telling Our Stories: Immigrant Women’s Resilience

Telling Our Stories: Immigrant Women’s Resilience is an online graphic novel by OCASI created through a series of creative writing workshops with immigrant and refugee women who came together to learn, share, and compile their stories on sexual violence and harassment.


5. Webinar: Unravelling the Complexities of Domestic Violence and Criminalization in Black Women’s Lives

This webinar with Dr. Patrina Duhaney identifies trauma and violence informed frameworks that are both relevant and responsive to the intersecting realities in Black women’s lives, especially with an increasing number of Black women being charged with perpetrating violence against an intimate partner.


6. Health and Well-being Among Racialized Trans and Non-binary People in Canada

For the first time, researchers have survey results about the health and wellbeing of trans and non-binary Canadians who also identify as people of colour. The report by Trans PULSE Canada shows increased levels of physical violence, harassment and sexual assault experienced by racialized trans and non-binary people in Canada.


7. Hear My Cry: Breaking the Code of Silence around Intimate Partner Violence among Black Women in and Beyond Midlife

In this qualitative study, researchers utilized an intersectional approach to examine how IPV is experienced and managed by Black Nova Scotian women in and beyond midlife and their experiences of seeking support.


8. Caught in the Carceral Web: Anti-Trafficking Laws and Policies and Their Impact on Migrant Sex Workers

This report by Butterfly Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network and the HIV Legal Network evaluates the combined impact of four areas of law on migrant sex workers and places the regulation of migrant sex workers in a broader historical context; maps the specific laws that create this carceral web; reviews the literature on the impact of these laws on migrant sex workers; and provides a qualitative study of migrant sex workers and their advocates regarding the impact of these laws.


9. Policy, Program, and Practices Review Guide: Strengthening Supports and Services for Muslim Women and Girls Facing Gender-based Violence

This guide has been developed as part of Canadian Council of Muslim Women’s Gender-Based Violence (GBV) project, which focuses on identifying and addressing the barriers to supports and services for Muslim women and girls facing GBV.


10. Webinar: Supporting Women with Precarious Immigration Status

In this webinar, the BC Refugee Hub and Battered Women’s Support Services launch a safety assessment and safety planning tool for supporting women with precarious immigration status and refugees facing domestic violence.


11. Video: Indigenous Women Land Defenders: Canadian State Violence and Forced Removals

This is the video of a panel discussion on Indigenous women land defenders in Canada and the efforts of these Indigenous women to protect Indigenous rights and Indigenous territories from state violence, dispossession, and environmental degradation.


12. The Decolonial Toolbox: An Educational Pathway

This toolkit by Mikana, Montreal Indigenous Community Network, and Concordia University de-centers and unlearns the colonial narratives that non-Indigenous people have learnt and encourages reflection on the role of settlers.


Joint Submission on Social Work Oversight to MCFD

As part of a coalition of organizations, including our friends West Coast LEAF, Rise Women’s Legal Center, and Feminists Deliver, Battered Women’s Support Services has written to the Ministry of Child and Family Development (MCFD) on necessary reforms to social work practice within MCFD.

You can read our joint submission here

Any meaningful reform of social work oversight must first acknowledge and address the role of social workers in the historic and ongoing colonization of Indigenous children, youth, families, communities, and Nations.

Cindy Blackstock’s research reveals that as early as 1946, the Canadian Association of Social Workers and Canadian Welfare Council were not only aware of residential schools but were active participants in the placement of Indigenous children in residential schools until as late as the 1960s. Social workers’ ignorance of, or willful blindness to, the systemic impacts of colonization and their support for assimilationist and racist colonial policies contributed to the removal and displacement of thousands of Indigenous children over many decades, including the Sixties Scoop.

The removal of children from their families, communities and lands is not an act of history; today’s Millennium Scoop is an ongoing, colonial act of dispossession, displacement and alienation from community, kin and homelands. The failure to support and empower parents, families, communities and Nations throughout their engagement with MCFD has specific acute impacts which ripple out from the child, their parents, and kin to the broader community, and which persist for generations. Apart from the impact on children being taken from their parents, families and communities, there are negative health outcomes for parents as well. This includes but is not limited to: a significantly increased risk of overdose in the period following the child’s apprehension; increased risk of homelessness for families following the removal of children; and an intergenerational cycle where children who are removed from their families are more likely to experience their own children being removed through the family policing system.

Therefore, it is necessary to align MCFD social work practice with the province’s commitments to advance reconciliation and implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA) in accordance with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which recognizes that Indigenous families and communities “share responsibility for the upbringing, training, education, and well-being of children.”

As we explain in our letter, we call on MCFD to prioritize the following in addressing social work oversight:

  1. Acknowledging and addressing the longstanding and ongoing colonial harms of social work on Indigenous parents, families, and children;
  2. Upholding family and parental rights and recognizing that the maintenance of family and cultural ties is essential to the well-being of children;
  3. Accountability and transparency to families, Indigenous Nations and communities; and
  4. Establishing a timely and responsive complaints process in the Child, Family and Community Service Act (CFCSA.)

Overall, the current state of a lack of accountability has resulted in an unhealthy and unjust power dynamic between MCFD staff and the families that come within the Ministry’s purview. This dynamic makes parents’ interactions with social workers traumatizing and adversarial. It also perpetuates distrust that vastly undermines prevention efforts. Parents must not be made to feel they are at the whim of social workers or be required to abandon all rights to their dignity and autonomy in order to meet shifting requirements from those who hold such incredible power over them. Parents and families cannot continue to be subjected to suspicion, surveillance, regulation, and punishment.

In our letter, we offer a number of recommendations towards decolonizing change by upholding family and parental rights, shifting from apprehension to prevention, prioritizing family and cultural ties, and ensuring accountability and transparency for parents, families, Indigenous Nations, and communities.

Announcing BWSS’s Gender Equity Learning and Knowledge Exchange

Gender Equity Learning and Knowledge Exchange

Announcing BWSS’s Gender Equity Learning and Knowledge Exchange

To mark the occasion of International Women’s Day, Battered Women’s Support Services is thrilled to announce the launch of our Gender Equity Learning and Knowledge Exchange (GELKE)!

Gender Equity Learning Knowledge Exchange website

About International Women’s Day

We are thrilled to launch the Gender Equity Learning and Knowledge Exchange on International Woman’s Day, a day that we have celebrated every year since our founding over four decades ago.

International Women’s Day (IWD) began over 112 years ago as a movement against women’s oppression and inequality.

The roots of IWD are in immigrant women’s working-class movements demanding shorter working hours and better working conditions and pay. IWD was finally adopted as a global day by the United Nations in 1977.

The international theme for IWD 2023 is #EmbraceEquity, a reminder to us all that equity is still a rallying demand for millions of women and gender diverse people.

We invite you to join us in supporting our Gender Equity Learning and Knowledge Exchange as one of many ways that we can advance learning and mobilization for intersectional, feminist equity.

Advancing gender equity through ending gender based violence

The Gender Equity Learning and Knowledge Exchange provides a centralized hub for over 300 resources related to Gender-Based Violence from organizations across British Columbia, as well as key national and international resources.

Our goal in launching this feminist learning and knowledge exchange is to mobilize community-based experiences and evidence-informed resources from an intersectional, anti-oppressive, feminist, and anti-racist practice.

At Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS), we work from a feminist, intersectional, and decolonial perspective to eliminate gender-based violence and to promote gender equity in all individual, relational, community and societal conditions.

We understand that women and people of marginalized genders in Canada have intersecting social, cultural, and political identities that inform unique experiences of violence, discrimination, and abuse.

As such, our resource hub compiles hundreds of educational materials, webinars, toolkits, podcasts, legal resources, and anthologies on intersectional feminism, including:

  • Anti-Black Gendered Racism
  • Anti-Indigenous Gendered Racism
  • Criminalization
  • Disability
  • Healthcare
  • Housing
  • Workplace
  • LGBTQ2s+
  • Youth and Students
  • Nonstatus, Immigrant, and Refugee survivors
  • Structural Violence

The Gender Equity Learning and Knowledge Exchange is multilingual, with resources available in over a dozen languages, and various accessibility formats, including captioned videos, transcribed audio, and machine-readable text.

Support the Gender Equity Learning and Knowledge Exchange and help us advance gender equity in BC: https://genderequitylke.org/donate/

KNOW More Week

kNOw More 2023 Every other day a woman in Canada is killed by femicide.

Have you heard about KNOW MORE week?

JOIN US March 5-12, 2023 as we at BWSS along with allies and activists from around the world who are saying No More and let’s KNOW More to take action intimate partner, domestic, and sexualized violence.

As a global grassroots activation aimed at making intimate partner, domestic violence and sexual assault awareness and prevention a priority year-round please email us at endingviolence@bwss.org for information and follow us on Instagram.

JOIN US along with allies and activists around the world saying #kNOwMore2023


Take Action


More events to commemorate International Women’s Month

BWSS Volunteer Recognition

BWSS Volunteer Recognition

Each year BWSS celebrates our committed, compassionate and wonderful volunteers during the week of International Women’s Day through our volunteer recognition dinner. 

Battered Women’s Support Services would like to say a big THANK YOU to all the volunteers who are essential in the work to end gender-based violence through supporting survivors and working for systemic change.

West Coast LEAF Equality Breakfast.

We will be in attendance at the Equality Breakfast

BWSS is thrilled to be in attendance with our friends at Central City Foundation in support of our friends at West Coast LEAF at their Equality Breakfast.

Dorothy Roberts is the George A. Weiss University Professor of Law & Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. She is author of Killing the Black Body; Shattered Bonds: and The Color of Child Welfare etc.

Date: Wednesday, March 8, 2023
Time: 7 am to 9:30 am PT (doors open at 6:30 am)
Location: Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

DEWC Vancouver Herstory

Annual Gala – DEWC Vancouver

We love the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre and will be in attendance at Herstory — Wildflower Women of Turtle Island drum group will perform again.

Date: Wed, March 8
Time: 7:00pm PST
Location: Vancouver Art Gallery 750 Hornby St Vancouver

BC Needs Pay Equity Legislation

BC Needs Pay Equity Legislation

BWSS and Hundreds of Others Release Letter to BC Government: We Need Pay Equity


Today, over 100 organizations and individuals have released an open letter to the BC government calling for the enactment of intersectional pay equity legislation before the next provincial election.

BC urgently needs an intersectional Pay Equity Act that enshrines in law the responsibility of all employers to identify and close gaps in pay for work of equal value.

According to a 2018 study by Statistics Canada, BC has the largest gender pay gap in Canada, with women in BC making, on average, 18.6 per cent less than men.

BC remains as one of four provinces (along with Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland) that does not have pay transparency or pay equity laws.

Pay equity is a human rights issue, and a matter of substantive equality. All levels of government must eliminate systemic discrimination in the workplace by ensuring equal pay for equal work through pay transparency and pay equity legislation.

Last year, the BC government began the process of developing pay transparency legislation. Importantly, pay transparency legislation is distinct from pay equity legislation.

Without pay equity to ensure that employers actually change their pay practices and provide equal pay for work of equal value, pay transparency only provides data and information about employment practices. With only pay transparency legislation, there are limited actions that can be pursued to rectify the performance of employers.


Put another way, pay transparency discloses the issue; pay equity addresses it.

As we write in our joint letter, “While we appreciate that pay transparency plays a role in promoting equity, your legislation will take no direct action to protect and advance the right to equitable pay. Instead, it will continue to tacitly place the burden on women and other equity-deserving groups to contend with their employers for basic fairness.”

This is especially urgent given the province’s obligations under the federal United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act and BC’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, and numerous Reconciliation Agreements with Indigenous nations. Across Canada, Indigenous women and men with a high school diploma typically earn between 15 and 19 percent less than their non-Indigenous peers.

The ongoing impacts of colonialism means that, overall, the earned incomes for First Nations, Inuit and Métis people are 70 percent that of other people in Canada.

According to an analysis of the most recent available census data on Indigenous women specifically, Indigenous women working full-time, full year earn an average of 35 percent less than non-Indigenous men, or 65 cents to the dollar. The wage gap between Indigenous peoples and settler society represents a disparity in Canada’s legislative intent and hollow reconciliatory words versus a commitment to action.

Pay transparency by itself is simply not enough. Thus, our joint letter puts forward the call for pay equity to be enacted, in addition to pay transparency, and that all new pay equity legislation be inclusive and intersectional.

Our joint letter also puts forward that pay transparency legislation include the following 8 minimum elements that build toward pay equity: a robust enforcement regime; transparency in all aspects of compensation; broad application across the economy; a data system built to support pay equity; a single interface for public access to pay data; disaggregation of data for deeper analysis; worker protections as well as transparency; and a new Pay Equity Office to lead implementation.


What is the Gender Pay Gap?

Women and people who are marginalized because of their gender are being systematically underpaid for work of equal value, compared to the wages their male counterparts earn. This is especially true for those who are additionally marginalized. The free market has not, and will not, correct this on its own, and we need laws to address this entrenched discrimination.

Indigenous women, Black women, racialized women, newcomer immigrant/refugee women, women with disabilities, and trans and two spirit people face compounding discrimination in employment, and the greatest barriers to pay equity.

The Canadian Women’s Foundation has found that only 27 percent of women and gender-diverse people report being paid equally to their peers. Census data shows that Indigenous, racialized, and newcomer immigrant/refugee women working full-time, full year earn significantly less than white people of all genders and less than racialized men. Specifically, racialized women make approximately 59.3 percent of what white men make in the workforce.

Racialized women are also most heavily concentrated in already underpaid, and often the lowest paying, jobs, especially the “5C’s” of caring, clerical, catering, cashiering, and cleaning.

The United Nations Human Rights Committee has raised concerns about the high level of the pay gap in Canada and its disproportionate effect on low-income women, racialized women, and Indigenous women.


What is BWSS Doing to Advocate for Pay Transparency and Pay Equity?

When, the provincial government announced in March 2022 that it was beginning a consultation process on new pay transparency legislation, BWSS wrote to wrote to BC’s Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity to strongly support the development of pay transparency and pay equity legislation.

BWSS works from a feminist perspective to eliminate gender-based violence and to promote gender equity.

From our frontline work, we know that pay transparency and, more importantly, pay equity is critical to ensuring the safety of survivors of gender-based violence. Financial dependence is a significant contributor to gender-based violence.

The reality of the gender pay gap, even further exacerbated across race, means that Indigenous, Black, newcomer immigrant/refugee, and racialized women are most likely to earn less than men in similar jobs, are most likely to be minimum wage earners in the province, and are most likely to retire with smaller pensions in older age – thus cementing a lifetime of the racial feminization of poverty.

In addition, unpaid caregiving responsibilities disproportionately fall on women, which further impacts economic security. All of this leaves survivors of violence with even fewer choices, often forcing them to remain in violent situations.

With this in mind, we wrote to Parliamentary Secretary Grace Lore about BC’s development of pay transparency and pay equity legislation. We believe that, as a guiding principle, any legislation must eliminate all pay inequity. This includes the structural inequality of women earning lower incomes than men for the same work, and the fact that women – especially racialized women – tend to be clustered at the bottom of lower-paid, minimum-wage jobs.


In our letter, we urged the provincial government to consider the following three key issues and benchmarks:


  1. Pay transparency legislation must be mandatory across all sectors, both public and private, and be subject to strong enforcement mechanisms and independent oversight. BC’s pay transparency legislation should include the minimum stipulations provided in Ontario’s pay transparency legislation, including requiring employers to include a salary range and benefits for all posted jobs, and prohibiting employers from punishing employees for disclosing their compensation. Furthermore, such legislation must prohibit employers from seeking any information about a job applicant’s previous compensation history, which reinforces the gender pay gap by limiting the earnings of women employees based on the status-quo of a history of under-compensation.
  2. Pay transparency legislation must enable thorough and comprehensive disaggregated reporting on an annual basis. Such reporting must accomplish the goal of providing meaningful statistics and robust data to allow for an intersectional analysis of an employer’s pay structure across a range of demographic characteristics and over time and across sectors.
  3. Pay transparency legislation must be followed by the development and introduction of pay equity legislation. Pay equity policies require employers to make plans to close the wage gap. This would require employers to collect and disclose wages based on job classes, determined based on factors required by the law such as skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions. Legislation must require employers to compensate a job class based on marginalized genders at an equal level if it is lower than the cis-male job class. This would require a robust administrative and regulatory regime, including future legislation enabling penalties for any employer who does not take the appropriate steps to closer their gender (and other) pay gap.


In our letter, we also highlighted that, while pay transparency legislation is a step in the direction of gender equality, it alone absolutely does not address the systemic racialization and feminization of poverty.


This would require a whole-of-government approach to tackle a series of issues including:

  • Unlivable social assistance, disability, and pension rates for survivors who are not in the formal, paid workforce, especially for those with disabilities and/or seniors.
  • Systemic racial and gendered labour market discriminations, including employer harassment and wage theft, especially for Indigenous and Black women in the workforce.
  • The lack of recognition of foreign credentials for newcomer immigrant/refugee women that continues to stratify newcomers into the lowest paid jobs. This precarity is magnified for migrants without full residency or citizenship status, and who routinely face further exploitation in the workforce.
  • Reversing a long trend of economic restructuring towards austerity that continues to disproportionately impact racialized women and force them into underpaid, part-time, insecure, and precarious work, while also juggling unpaid care responsibilities.


This all must be a provincial priority.

We believe that addressing pay equity, and all forms of gender inequality, is central to eliminating gender-based violence. BWSS will continue to closely monitor, provide recommendations towards, and advocate for comprehensive and meaningful measures to ensure pay transparency, pay equity, and gender equity for all those marginalized by gender and other oppressions.