Document Type



Equal pay legislation in Ontario has been a source of considerable attention, concern, and conflict since the late nineteenth century. A variety of women's organizations, human rights groups, labour unions, and political parties actively promoted equal pay for equal work legislation. In March 1951, the Ontario provincial government did enact an equal pay law to rectify perceived inequities between male and female workers. Since that initial legislation, numerous individuals and groups have complained that this legislation has done little to narrow the male-female wage differential in Ontario. In this article we argue that, in fact, the Ontario government's equal pay law of 1951 did serve to reduce the male-female wage gap in a variety of jobs over the past thirty years. This contention is seen as providing a positive context for the equal pay for work of equal value legislation recently enacted by Ontario's present Liberal government.