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The Ursula Franklin Pay Equity Reading Room

Part of Ontario's Pay Equity Commission's mandate is communicating the purpose and obligations of the Pay Equity Act.  The Office has established a small reading room to further this effort and has named it The Ursula Franklin Pay Equity Reading Room, to honour Dr. Franklin's memory, commemorate her commitment to women's empowerment, and inspire others to live with great conviction as she did.

The Ursula Franklin Pay Equity Reading Room is a Women and Work Reference Library for the Province of Ontario.  There are approximately 2000 records in the present collection, including historic and current materials related to pay equity, compensation, the gender wage gap, and other related topics around women and work. There are documents, papers, reports and studies from within the Province of Ontario, Canada and around the world.

Visitors can access the library by appointment during regular business hours. To schedule an appointment, contact:

Pay Equity Office
180 Dundas Street West, 3rd Floor
Toronto,
Ontario
M7A 2S6

Tel.: 416-314-1896 or 1-800-387-8813

Email: pecinfo@ontario.ca

Dr. Ursula Franklin

Dr. Ursula Franklin was the first-ever female Professor at the University of Toronto Department of Engineering, Metallurgy and Materials Science.  She passed away on July 22nd, 2016.  A Holocaust survivor, she was a staunch activist, contributing to human kind, her country, her province and her community. She was 94.

Everywhere she turned her attention, she made important contributions. She made important discoveries (discovering radioactive substances in Canadian children's teeth that changed international practices regarding nuclear tests) and championed numerous civic engagements for the betterment of her city and its people.

She made a key contribution to the area of pay equity. She was the named party on behalf of other professors at the University of Toronto in a court case that was settled in 2002. She argued that the Employer benefited from the lag in settling pay equity compensation issues. The case highlighted a systemic wage inequity and the very real harms that delaying resolution to pay equity claims produce. This was just one of the necessary fights that Ursula Franklin fought. Her entire life was at the service of others.

Official Opening - Ursula Franklin Pay Equity Reading Room

On March 8, 2017, International Women's Day, the Pay Equity Office officially opened the Ursula Franklin Pay Equity Reading Room.

The Pay Equity Office marked its 30th anniversary year during 2017 with events such as this to recognize the tremendous efforts of the many women and men who worked and continue to work to make pay equity a reality in Ontario.

Ursula Franklin was a scientist, the first female professor in the University of Toronto's Faculty of Engineering and a recipient of the Order of Canada. She was also a pay equity champion.  After her retirement in 1989, Dr. Franklin spearheaded a class action against the University of Toronto, claiming systemic discrimination in the compensation of its female faculty.  The lawsuit was resolved when the University acknowledged the wrong.  As a result, about 60 retired female faculty members received a pay equity settlement to compensate them for the lower salaries and pensions they had received.  Dr. Franklin passed away on July 22, 2016 at the age of 94.

Emanuela Heyninck, the Pay Equity Commissioner, presided over the official opening.  In her remarks, the Commissioner recognized Dr. Franklin as a champion for women's equality, for women's economic equality, and for pay equity in the Province of Ontario.

The Principal, teachers and students from the Ursula Franklin Academy also attended. Monica Franklin (daughter) shared her thoughts about her mother.  Mary Eberts, the lawyer in the class action lawsuit, provided the audience with an interesting summary of the case. Also attending were Martin Franklin (son) and a number of Dr. Franklin's personal friends and colleagues who appreciated the tribute to their friend and mentor, including Linda Gehrke, Linda Silver Dranoff and Lorna Marsden.