work another job to survive


are laid off each summer


have already cut back on food


real wage cut in last decade


face financial hardship

The impact of wage restraint

The lowest paid in the sector, education workers have faced a real wage cut of 11% over the last 10 years due to provincial wage restraint legislation. Harsh bargaining positions taken by the government have meant that education workers’ wages have not kept up with inflation. 

Today education workers’ wages are no longer sufficient, on their own, to support a household. In a recent CUPE survey, 51.4% of education workers are working second or third jobs just to survive.

Surrey Schools 100-1

The gender gap worsens

Because women make up more than 70% of CUPE education workers, wage restraint has worsened the gender wage gap in Ontario.

Women education workers are more likely to be in positions with a lower annual income than men. For example, 89.9% of women earn less than $50,000 per year, compared to 60.9% of men according to a recent CUPE education worker survey. What’s more, 98% of women earn less than $60,000 per year compared to 91.1% of men. 

Women are also overrepresented in jobs where annual income is limited by 10-months of employment or temporary lay offs every year during December holidays and March break.

“Struggle to pay rent. Rent prices have doubled in the last ten years. My 2-bedroom apartment costs $2300 dollars a month. Food has gone up. Home prices have gone up. Car prices have gone up. Gas prices have gone up. Our wages have not gone up to compensate for this.

Maintenance worker

The education worker wage has fallen behind economic growth

A decade of wage restraint and of keeping wage increases below inflation has taken a total of nearly $1.3 billion out of the pockets of CUPE education workers. From 2012 to the end of 2021, wage increases for Ontario education workers totaled just 8.8%. Over the same period total inflation was 19.5%.

Screen Shot 2022-08-25 at 2.29.26 PM

Education worker wages vs. inflation 2012–21 (compounded)

"I have to work two jobs to make enough money to survive. I have enough for food, savings etc but that is only with a second job.”


“I am a tradesperson making $15-20/hour less than a tradesperson in the private sector. We are currently looking for tradespeople to work for the board and they aren’t even getting applicants because the wages are too low.”


"All of my earnings go into bills, there is nothing left over at the end of the month, and I am pay cheque to pay cheque barely making ends meet.”

—Educational Assistant

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