Sudbury midwives are 'celebrating' possible wage increase
SUDBURY -- A seven-year fight to end the pay gap between midwives and doctors is moving forward, now that the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario is ordering the Ford government to take immediate action.
The tribunal’s decision was handed down earlier this week after the litigation process was launched back in 2013.
Locally, Sudbury Community Midwives is responsible for 20 to 25 per cent of births in the region.
But while a community health physician is making about $200,000 per year, midwives are making just over $90,000 at the very most, according to Buffy Fulton-Breathat, a partner at the Sudbury Community Midwives.
"It’s significant to not be compensated for the additional work that midwives do," said Fulton-Breathat.
Local midwives have worked with local politicians on this issue and say they got support in the House of Commons from both the NDP and Liberal parties.
"It was poor timing that the government changed to Conservative in the same year that the judgement came out," said Fulton-Breathat.
She believes that while this decision is good news, the fight isn’t over.
"I think the biggest thing right now, that is frustrating, is the government has used seven years of tax dollars to fight against giving us, the increase that we deserve and that the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal has said we deserve," said Fulton-Breathat.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of the Attorney General told CTV News: "Ontario has applied for judicial review of the Tribunal’s decision on liability as well as the Tribunal’s decision on remedy."
Since the matter is before the court, government officials would not comment further.
The on-going pay gap has caused students to question the midwifery program according to Fulton-Breathat.
"As a registered nurse, I could basically make the same amount of money that a full-time midwife does," she said.
However, she adds that she would be doing shift work, be compensated for overtime and never work 24-hours straight.
The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario suggested a 20 per cent pay increase for midwives as a first step in this process, according to Fulton-Breathat. She says that this decision ultimately means that midwives who are currently working or about to graduate will be compensated for the work that they are doing in an appropriate fashion.
A copy of the Human Rights Tribunal decision can be viewed here.