PSAC is pleased to see the federal Pay Equity Commissioner deny the government’s plan to water down its implementation of the Pay Equity Act, which would undermine the aim of the legislation and perpetuate wage discrimination in the federal public service.
The Pay Equity Act, which came into effect in August 2021, mandates employers to proactively establish pay equity plans within a three-year timeframe and adjust salaries accordingly. In July 2022, Treasury Board requested the Pay Equity Commissioner's approval for three separate pay equity plans for the core federal public service, rather than a single plan encompassing all employees. Last week, the commissioner denied this request.
“This proves what we have been saying all along,” said Chris Aylward, PSAC national president. “Treasury Board’s proposal amounts to ‘pay equity lite’ and will inevitably hurt workers – with fewer comparisons and more wage discrimination. This decision is an important step forward on the road to pay equity.”
Treasury Board’s proposal would have created three separate pay equity plans divided along bargaining agent lines. Under this three-plan model, women-predominant classifications would have been compared against only a portion of the men-predominant classifications in the core public administration.
This risked denying equal pay for work of equal value to many women-predominant classifications, which make up over one-third of the federal public service and are some of the most severely impacted by historic gender-based wage discrimination.
Treasury Board has 30 days to request a judicial review at the Federal Court.
“We urge the government not to create further delays in the pay equity process,” said Aylward. “With just over a year remaining until the final pay equity plan is due, it’s time to stop stalling, roll up our sleeves and get to work to end the systemic gender-based pay discrimination in Canada’s largest workforce.”
A joint statement has been issued by PSAC along with seven other unions representing federal employees.