Irene Jansen | CUPE Equality

At CUPE’s 2007 National Convention, delegates set a $15 per hour minimum wage target for all CUPE members.

Using CUPE’s Collective Agreement Information System (CAIS), we estimate that 96 per cent of CUPE occupations earned at least $15 per hour in 2013. It’s not 100 per cent, but we’re getting closer.

Where are the low-paid jobs? An estimated one per cent of CUPE occupations in acute care and provincial government, 15 per cent in long-term care, and eight per cent in social services are paid less than $15 per hour.

At CUPE’s 2013 National Convention, delegates recognized the importance of this issue and raised the target to $18 per hour, reflecting a bar set by many living wage campaigns across Canada.

To help locals reach this goal, CUPE developed a snapshot of members in jobs paying $18 per hour or less. Using the Labour Force Survey and the Census as proxy data, the analysis shows women, Aboriginal and racialized workers concentrated in certain low-paid sectors and occupations.

For example, women make up the large majority of low-paid members in child care, social services, health care, school boards and libraries. Aboriginal members are particularly concentrated in low-paid jobs in social services and child care. Racialized members are more likely to be in low-paid jobs in post-secondary, long-term care and child care.

A number of these lower-paid sectors also have high rates of temporary and part-time workers, which are further signs of less secure employment. CUPE Equality is now researching the effects of precarious employment on women. The research is being conducted jointly with the CLC, CUPW and the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW).