The Pay Equity Act

In this 4th installment of our series in honour of Women’s History Month, let’s talk about pay equity and, more specifically, the Pay Equity Act of 2018.

The Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE) and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) have been long-standing advocates for pay equity in Canada, particularly in the public sector. Pay equity refers to the principle that male-dominated and female-dominated jobs requiring the same skill, effort, and responsibility should be paid equally.

Pay equity has been a contentious issue in Canada for many years, with the gender wage gap being a persistent problem. The Canadian Human Rights Act had provisions for pay equity since the 1970s, but it was not until the 1990s that the issue gained greater attention.

In 1999, the PSAC filed a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission on behalf of its members working in the federal public service, alleging that the government’s pay system resulted in gender-based wage discrimination. The case was eventually settled in 2012, with the government agreeing to pay $3.3 billion in compensation to affected workers and to implement a new pay equity regime.

The new pay equity regime was introduced in Bill C-86, which was introduced in October 2018 and received royal assent in December of that year. The legislation created a new Pay Equity Act, which applies to federally regulated employers with 10 or more employees. The Act establishes a proactive approach to pay equity, requiring employers to develop and implement a pay equity plan to ensure that employees are paid equitably.

We are proud to bring you a presentation by Verda Cook, PSAC Classification Officer, on the importance and implications of the Pay Equity Act.

UCTE and PSAC were among the organizations advocating for the passage of the Pay Equity Act, and their efforts were instrumental in ensuring that the legislation was passed. The Act came into force on August 31, 2021. UCTE and PSAC continue to monitor its implementation and advocate for its effective enforcement to ensure that workers receive equal pay for work of equal value.

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