Nicole Sarauer, the deputy leader of the NDP, announced two equality measures for women in the province the party would enact if elected, speaking in Regina on Saturday morning.

Sarauer said the NDP would enact pay equity legislation to balance the pay gap between women and men.

“Saskatchewan is one of only four provinces that doesn’t have pay equity legislation,” Sarauer said. “Here in Regina, women earn 85 cents to every dollar men earn. That is unacceptable.”

In an emailed statement, Saskatchewan Party candidate Tina Beaudry-Mellor said similar legislation currently exists in Saskatchewan to ensure equality for women.

“Pay equity legislation already exists in Saskatchewan. It is against the law to pay one employee less than another with similar skill and experience for the same job, based on gender. The Human Rights code also prohibits different rates of pay based on race, skin colour, religion or sexual orientation,” Beaudry-Mellor said.

“Our party is focused on supporting women through initiatives such as reducing the small business tax which will help many of the 34,000 women entrepreneurs in Saskatchewan.”

Sarauer also added the party would ban women’s work dress codes, including mandatory high heel policies. Sarauer said the party has talked with women, specifically in the hospitality industry, that shared concerns of sexual harassment due to these policies.

“We are here ready to talk about the issue, ready to acknowledge it and ready to work with those who are in the industry,” she said.

“We heard about a pattern of harassment that too many women were forced to endure in order to earn a pay cheque.”

The deputy leader also emphasized the need for more women within Saskatchewan’s Legislature, noting 46 per cent of NDP candidates in this election are women.

“There’s proven evidence that women legislators are more likely than their male counterparts to introduce policies that benefit women,” she said.

“I think I was number 56 for a person who was a elected to the legislature, who is a woman, in the history of Saskatchewan, which I think says a lot about the lack of diversity we have in the legislature.

More to come…

FRIDAY NDP ANNOUNCEMENTS

On Friday, Saskatchewan NDP leader Ryan Meili announced that he intends to increase accountability and transparency at the government level if elected by calling inquiries into government deals that have sparked controversy.

The NDP said that if elected it would call a public inquiry into the Global Transportation Hub and Regina Bypass, enact stronger conflict of interest rules for MLAs, require all lobbying to be public, ban corporate and union donations and introduce a cap on individual donations.