Pay Equity for Midwives

Image of pregnant woman with Pay Equity is Overdue caption

Pay equity is a fundamental human right guaranteed by the Human Rights Code and the Pay Equity Act. As an almost exclusively female profession providing women- and trans-centered health care, Ontario midwives have been fighting for pay equity for over 20 years. In 2013, the AOM filed an application with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO), claiming the province has continually and systematically set a discriminatory compensation structure for midwives. 

Hearings at the Tribunal were brought to a close in June 2017, and an interim decision (PDF, 364 KB) was delivered to the AOM by the HRTO on September 24, 2018, with a remedy decision (PDF, 697 KB) issued on February 19, 2020. In this landmark legal decision, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has ordered the Ford government to take concrete actions to end the gender pay gap midwives experience as a result of the Ministry of Health’s discriminatory actions. The Ontario government filed for a judicial review of the HRTO ruling, which was heard in Divisional Court in April 2020. In June 2020, the Divisional Court ruled unanimously to uphold the decision of the HRTO in a carefully reasoned 59 page judgement (PDF, 755 KB). 

The Ontario government again sought and was granted leave to appeal the decision at the Ontario Court of Appeal on November 10, 2021, calling on Ontario midwives to continue to fight to have their work valued fairly and free from a gender penalty. On June 13, 2022 the Ontario Court of Appeal released its decision. The OCA ruled in favour of midwives, dismissing government's arguments and upholding the previous decisions of the Divisional Court and the HRTO. Finally, in late August 2022, the Ontario government confirmed that they will not seek leave to appeal the OCA Decision to the Supreme Court of Canada — the original HRTO decision and remedy orders stand. This historic win sets a precedent with reverberating impact across all gender-segrated professions. The decisions in midwives' pursuit of pay equity establish and confirm important legal principles that can be relied on by equity-seeking groups across Canada, including the need for proactive vigilance with respect to the adverse impacts of government policies and practices on women and other equity-seeking groups.

The AOM continues to work to hold government accountable to the court-mandated, facilitated process of implementing the HRTO remedy orders.

Ontario Court of Appeal Decision

Divisional Court Judicial Review

HRTO Interim Decision



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Media Contact

Juana Berinstein
Director, Policy & Communications
Association of Ontario Midwives
Phone: 416-425-9974 x 2229
Mobile: 416-371-1468