Have Pay Equity Laws in Canada Helped Women A Synthetic Control

Ontario passed a very aggressive Pay Equity Act in 1988, and in 1996 Quebec passed a similar Pay Equity Act. We use synthetic- control methods to examine what has happened to the gender pay gap (female–male earnings ratio) in Ontario since 2005 and to see whether Quebec’s Pay Equity Act has had any effect on its pay gap. Ontario and Quebec are chosen simply because they are the provinces with the most comprehensive and “aggressive” pay equity laws. We also use synthetic-control methods to investigate whether these acts may have had an adverse effect on the female–male employment ratios in Ontario and Quebec. We find that Ontario’s act has had a negligible effect on that province’s gender pay gap and employment ratio. However, Quebec’s act appears to have reduced the gender pay gap, although at a cost of a some- what smaller employment ratio for women in that province