The Liberal government has announced it intends to bring in a new federal pay equity law by the end of 2018.
“A proactive pay equity law has been needed for decades,” said PSAC National President Robyn Benson. “We are very disappointed the government is not moving more quickly.”
The government was responding to a report by a special committee of the House of Commons on pay equity, which called for a new law in 2017. If the legislation isn’t introduced until the end of 2018, it runs the risk of not becoming law before the next federal election in 2019 and there could be further delays to bring in the necessary corresponding regulations.
“The issue has been thoroughly studied and experience with proactive legislation in provinces such as Ontario and Quebec is readily available,” said Benson. “The government should be moving now to recruit the necessary expertise to support the new pay equity system once it becomes law.”
Conservatives’ law still restricts rights of public service workers
The government’s announcement failed to give any indication that the government will repeal the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act (PSECA).
Passed in 2009, as part of an omnibus budget bill, PSECA removed the right to file pay equity complaints under the Canadian Human Rights Act from federal public service workers.
“The government should act now to repeal PSECA and restore our members’ rights until a new pay equity law is in place,” said Benson. “Our members in the federal public service have been denied their pay equity rights under the Human Rights Act for the last six years.”
Some good news in the announcement
The Liberals have indicated that the new proactive law will cover federal workers in both the private and public sectors. They’ve also acknowledged that any new system will need strong and independent oversight.