It is a historic win for midwives, a historic win for pay equity, and a historic win for all workers in female-dominated professions. In a groundbreaking case, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) ruled today that the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care discriminated against midwives. The Tribunal found the government failed to monitor midwives' compensation and negotiate regularly.

"This is a landmark win for pay equity," said Elizabeth Brandeis, President of the Association of Ontario Midwives. “It will have a tremendous impact on workers across all other gendered sectors of work."

Read More: The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario Decision (Sept. 24, 2018)


Pay equity for midwives is overdue. In Ontario, women on average earn only 71 cents on the male dollar. This gap is more pronounced for women and trans or genderqueer people who face systemic injustice, especially those who are Indigenous, racialized, elderly, newcomers, or those who have a disability.

The pay equity gap for Ontario's most female-dominated profession, midwifery, is at least 48%.


Midwives provide evidence-based primary healthcare – prenatal care, labour and birth care, and care for the first six weeks after birth. Midwives provide care in hospitals, birth centres, in the community, and at home.

Women and trans people can choose either the care of a physician or a midwife for their pregnancy and only 4 out of 10 families in Ontario who would prefer a midwife are able to access midwifery care.

Photo Courtesy: Heather Bays Photography

Midwives are an integral and integrated part of Ontario’s healthcare system and produce excellent health outcomes, high levels of patient satisfaction and utilize health care resources efficiently.

“Nobody does the equivalent job of a midwife," said Katrina Kilroy, the president of the Canadian Association of Midwives in an article in the Toronto Star. "We’re on call 24-7. We sometimes work 24 hours straight. We’re with someone on the most painful day of their lives. It’s a matter of life and death.”

Read More: "Ontario midwives welcome a 'historic' victory in pay equity case," The Toronto Star


In 2013, the Association of Ontario Midwives filed an application with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario to address the ways that the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has systematically and consistently entrenched sex discrimination in the compensation structure for midwives and denied them the opportunity for a fair bargaining process.

Read more: What does the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario do?


We still need your help to mobilize and work to right this historical wrong. Join us for our Provincial Day of Action on September 27th. This is a call to action for all:  equity-seeking groups in female-dominated professions are facing an upward battle for fair pay across all sectors. This is a call for justice. Pay equity is a human right.

Join us on September 27th at 12:15 am - 2:00 pm at Queen’s Park for our Provincial Day of Action!