What’s at stake?
Responsibility for pay equity claims will no longer be the sole responsibility of the employer (the government) and instead be partially the responsibility of the union, who must negotiate pay equity during collective bargaining. It also changes the threshold for gender predominance from a sliding scale of 70 percent in workplaces under 100 people to 55 percent in workplaces over 500 people, to a new threshold of 70 percent across the board. They also change the definition of “value of work” to include “market factors.” Most importantly, it removes pay equity for federal public servants from the prevue of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, handing it over to the Public Service Labour Relations Board.
What does “Work of equal value” mean?
While you can’t get away with paying a woman less for the very same job as a man, this refers to inequities such as how female-dominated professions like librarians are traditionally paid less than male-dominated fields like archiving.
Isn’t this like Ontario and Manitoba’s pay equity laws?
While the government says that they are, this new law puts pay equity at the bargaining table. Ontario and Manitoba keeps that issue outside of bargaining, and provides a Pay Equity Commission — a body of experts who can assist both parties. The provinces still maintain that the employer is solely responsible, and has a mandated time frame for implementation. They are also required to set aside a quantum of money to settle any future equity complaints.