Union leaders say proposed pay equity legislation will close ‘shameful’ gap

Jobs that might be under close scrutiny because they are dominated by women include clerical and administrative jobs, marketing, sales and services

PIPSC President Debi Daviau looks on as PSAC President Chris Aylward speaks about the Phoenix pay system during a news conference about pay equity in Ottawa, Wednesday October 31, 2018. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

The new pay-equity law the federal Liberals are proposing should close Canada’s “shameful” gender gap and private-sector employers should follow the government’s example, leaders of some of Canada’s biggest unions say.

Public Service Alliance of Canada president Chris Aylward says the legislation introduced earlier this week has been a long time coming: his organization first filed pay-equity complaints against the federal government in the 1970s.

“This new legislation, which creates an obligation for employers to eliminate gender-based wage discrimination, means 30-year legal battles to resolve pay-equity complaints will become a thing of the past,” said Aylward at a press conference Wednesday on Parliament Hill.

Under the proposed law, employers under federal jurisdiction would need to examine their compensation practices and ensure women and men receive equal pay for work of equal value.

Employers would be required to identify job classes, evaluate the work in each, and compare what they pay with what workers get in jobs dominated by men or by women.

READ MORE: ‘Daddy bonus’ common in B.C. workplaces, study finds

The rules would apply to all federally regulated employers with 10 or more workers, which includes the federal public service, parliamentary workplaces, and the offices of the prime minister and other ministers. It also includes employers in parts of the private sector such as banks, marine shipping, ferry and port services and telecommunications. In all, about 900,000 Canadian workers will be covered.

Jobs that might be under close scrutiny because they are dominated by women include clerical and administrative jobs, marketing, sales and services. Also bank tellers, financial-sales representatives and accounting clerks.

It’s up to employers to determine whether a position has been undervalued and if the workers are due for pay adjustments.

Debi Daviau, the president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, said her organization is confident the government, as an employer, “will show the way to all the private ones.”

Discrimination against women in the workforce still happens more often than is usually acknowledged, said Hassan Yussuff of the Canadian Labour Congress.

He said until employers have pay-equity plans in place, they can’t say they have ended discrimination in the workplace.

Johanne Perron of the Pay Equity Coalition said having federal legislation in place sends a strong message.

“It’s time for all provinces to have pay-equity legislation for both the public and private sectors.”

Janice Dickson, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Body of Maple Ridge man recovered near Harrison Lake

21-year-old last seen on May 16 when he fell into Silver Creek

Missing since 2016, Marie Stuart’s remains found in Abbotsford

Pregnant Abbotsford woman was last seen in December 2016

‘Drive as fast as you can’: After 40 years, Mt. St. Helens eruption still hits close to home

Observer readers felt the effects even thousands of kilometres away

Harrison Hot Springs Resort eases in to reopening

Reservations available Friday, May 29

Potential for gravel removal this summer in Chilliwack has riled river stewards

Group says no ‘discernible merit’ for gravel mining when balanced off with the environmental damage

VIDEO: Bear catches ‘rascally rabbit’ for breakfast near Whistler bus stop

The brief encounter of the bear hunting its meal has gone viral

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

Soggy dog plucked from Vedder River by Chilliwack Search and Rescue

A 10 month old puppy bit off far more than she could chew throwing herself into the rushing river

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

B.C. drive-in theatre shuts down to await appeal of car limits, concession rules

Business owner Jay Daulat voluntarily closed down the theatre awaiting a health ministry decision

Huawei executive loses court ruling, extradition case continues

Judge says allegations against Meng Wanzhou could constitute a crime in Canada

Most Read