Pay Equity legislation, enacted in 1988, addresses gender discrimination in compensation for work performed by employees in female job classes compared to male jobs within the organization.
The Public Service Alliance of Canada waged a court battle in order to achieve pay equity for the membership in the early 1980’s and the recent victory for Canada Post members tells the story of the opposition that the union met throughout the years. The cost has been enormous and, for less dedicated sponsors, could have been crippling and they might have accepted lesser deals in order to save money and human resources. This was not the case with our union and we are very fortunate to be affiliated with an organization that holds human rights in such high esteem.
Union dues are a small price to pay when you consider the value in terms of financial gain and human rights protections.
How are the pay equity and employment equity programs different?
While both promote and support the goal of equity in the workplace, equal pay for work of equal value, or pay equity as it is often called, refers to the payment of equal wages to males and females performing work that is determined to be of equal value. The objective of pay equity legislation is to close that part of the wage gap that is due to pay inequities based on gender.
Employment equity programs arise from the Employment Equity Act and are also administered by the Labour Program. Their objective is to ensure that no person shall be denied employment opportunities or benefits for reasons unrelated to ability. Employment equity is intended to correct the conditions of disadvantage in employment experienced by women, Aboriginal peoples, people with disabilities and visible minorities.
Perspective: Legislation is only the 1st step in ensuring employment fairness in a workplace. Employers and unions must continue to work very hard and effectively in order to take the steps necessary to ensure that the intent of the legislation is respected and enacted.