Pay Equity Task Force Recommendations Act

An Act respecting the implementation of the recommendations of the Pay Equity Task Force and amending another Act in consequence

This bill was last introduced in the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session, which ended in March 2011.

This bill was previously introduced in the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session.


Michael Ignatieff  Liberal

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)


Second reading (House), as of Dec. 9, 2009
(This bill did not become law.)


This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment requires the Government of Canada to take the measures necessary to implement the recommendations of the Pay Equity Task Force. It also repeals Part II of the Budget Implementation Act, 2009.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.


May 5, 2010 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on the Status of Women.

Opposition Motion--Pay EquityBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

February 2nd, 2016 / 5:30 p.m.
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Sukh Dhaliwal Liberal Surrey—Newton, BC

Madam Speaker, when I was a member of Parliament in the previous Parliament, I remember a motion similar to the one the NDP is talking about today. It was Bill C-471, introduced by the then leader of the Liberal Party, Michael Ignatieff.

It has always been the intent of the Liberal Party to bring equality for women.

Look at the charter. I am very proud to stand here today. The Right Hon. Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau brought in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to enshrine equality, to enshrine individual rights, in our Constitution. I am very proud of the history of the Liberal Party. I am very proud of its present leadership. The Prime Minister brought in equality, with an equal number of female and male ministers in his cabinet, and equal pay for them all.

I am very proud of our record and will remain proud.

Status of WomenCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

November 3rd, 2010 / 3:35 p.m.
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Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, on Bill C-471, An Act respecting the implementation of the recommendations of the Pay Equity Task Force and amending another Act in consequence.

November 2nd, 2010 / 8:50 a.m.
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The Chair Liberal Hedy Fry

I call the meeting to order.

We are meeting today, pursuant to the order of reference of Wednesday, May 5, with regard to Bill C-471, an act respecting the implementation of the recommendations of the pay equity task force and amending another act in consequence.

We will go to clause-by-clause consideration.

Pursuant to Standing Order 75(1), consideration of the preamble and clause 1 is postponed.

(On clause 2--Implementation of recommendations)

Are there any motions?

I think we have a motion with regard to clause 2. It is from Ms. Neville.

October 28th, 2010 / 10:30 a.m.
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The Vice-Chair Conservative Cathy McLeod

Everyone has these in front of them. Do we need to have them read out?

Is there any debate on this motion?

(Motion negatived) [See Minutes of Proceedings]

Just as a quick reminder, the members of the committee are asked to send to the clerk their proposed amendments to Bill C-471 by Friday, October 29, at 4 o'clock. And we will be doing clause-by-clause on November 2.

October 28th, 2010 / 10:20 a.m.
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The Vice-Chair Conservative Cathy McLeod

Thank you.

That finishes our three rounds.

I'd like to thank all the witnesses.

I have to say, the commitment to pay equity is a very important issue. Really, it becomes the deliberation whether Bill C-471 or the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act is the better way to get there.

But please be assured that we all, I think, want to achieve pay equity. Really, the debate is about the best way to achieve this. So thank you again.

I believe we now have a motion from Madame Demers that we'll be discussing.

We'll suspend for 30 seconds.

October 28th, 2010 / 10:10 a.m.
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Senior Consultant, Opus Mundi Canada

Paul Durber

As Ms. Pageau mentioned, the task force report also includes comments on aboriginals, visible minorities, and disabled people. In respect, I think Bill C-471, by its reference to the task force report, has a broader ambit than section 11 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, and it is absolutely broader than the PSECA, which covers essentially gender.

October 28th, 2010 / 10:10 a.m.
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Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

That's fine.

When we talk about human rights, I think there was a response in the status of women report on pay equity in 2004. I think it was a very good report because it basically balances out that pay equity is separate from bargaining rights because they are two separate issues.

Bill C-471 deals with those issues. I'd like you to comment on how that would help or enhance equality between genders and equality among different Canadians.

October 28th, 2010 / 9:20 a.m.
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Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Thank you very much for appearing today. My first question is addressed to you, Ms. Michaud. I would first like to express our gratitude for all the work you do at Statistics Canada.

Why are the data you have presented so old? You presented data going back to 1997. For one thing, it seems to me that the situation, as well as the data relating to women's education have changed considerably. So, I am not sure that these data are accurate, compared to the image we have of women in the labour market. Things may have evolved over the last 13 years. The data we have on educational attainment date back to 1997, which makes them very old.

Ms. Pageau, I would like to know whether you are concerned about possible repercussions if we are not able to pass Bill C-471 fairly quickly. Do you think there will be consequences for public sector employees if, for some reason, the House were to be prorogued or Parliament were to be dissolved before we were able to pass Bill C-471 and if, unfortunately, Bill C-9, which has been passed, were to go into effect in January, as planned?

I would like to hear first from Ms. Michaud, and then, Ms. Pageau.

October 28th, 2010 / 9 a.m.
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Executive Director, Federally Regulated Employers - Transportation and Communications (FETCO)

John Farrell

Thank you, Madam Chair.

My name is John Farrell. I'm the executive director of Federally Regulated Employers - Transportation and Communications. Joining me today as an adviser on pay equity matters is Ms. Barbara Gagné, manager of labour relations and classification at Nav Canada, a FETCO member.

I have provided the clerk with a full report of our point of view. It will be translated and will be provided to the committee. Given time constraints, I'll confine my comments basically to those key matters that we believe are important to federally regulated employers with respect to Bill C-471.

First of all, FETCO unequivocally supports pay equity. The vast majority of FETCO members are federal contractors and already comply with section 11 of the Canadian Human Rights Act and with other employment legislation, including the Canada Labour Code and the Employment Equity Act. The challenge is to devise and execute a fair and equitable plan that will achieve pay equity to the extent possible in an appropriate period of time.

FETCO appeared as a witness before this standing committee with respect to the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act. We gave evidence that we believed certain aspects of this act were beneficial, primarily in that it requires both employers and unions to share the responsibility for equitable compensation. It also proposed, in our view, more efficient, effective, and equitable problem-solving and dispute resolution procedures.

With respect to the recommendations of the pay equity task force, I wish to reiterate FETCO's point of view, which was expressed in advance of the pay equity task force in 2004 and when we made comments on the report of the pay equity task force at that time.

First and foremost, FETCO supports a proactive problem-solving approach to pay equity. However, pay equity has an integral part in the determination of wages and other employment compensation, in conjunction with the many other factors that influence wages and compensation in a market-driven economy. The skill level, effort, responsibility, and working conditions required for a given career path affect wages. So do the supply of persons available and the demand for employees in a given labour market. The state of the company or the organization affects pay equity, and the state of the industry in which the company operates affects pay. The level of unionization of the workforce and the relative strength of the union in its ability to bargain for the bargaining unit and to negotiate wage and benefit increases also affect pay practices. The priorities of the workforce in terms of trade-offs involving wages, benefits, working conditions, work–life balance, and the duration of collective agreements affect pay practices.

Therefore, a full understanding of all the aspects that affect compensation is required in order to develop a plan and redress any inequities that may exist. In addition to possessing an understanding of human rights matters, persons assisting in the resolution of pay equity matters and the adjudication of pay equity disputes must also understand wage and benefit compensation, labour and employee relations, and business economics.

Pay equity legislation must be simultaneously considered in conjunction with the Canada Labour Code. Both employers and unions must jointly be held accountable for achieving pay equity. This must be a bilateral responsibility, not a unilateral employer responsibility, as is currently the case. This is one of our major points. In a unionized environment, it is the employer and the union acting together that make a bilateral agreement about what compensation is to be paid to employees. In fact, the union plays a major role in the distribution of the total compensation package. Both pay equity and collective bargaining are over the same activity: the level, structure, nature, and amount of compensation. In a unionized environment, these two activities must be integrated.

The current process allows unions to negotiate an agreement and then file a complaint under section 11 of the Human Rights Act and claim it has been violated. The end result is additional wage adjustments. In effect, the unions are using pay equity as a means to double-dip. This is one of the principal reasons that pay equity complaints have been protracted and contentious. This double-dipping must stop.

October 28th, 2010 / 8:50 a.m.
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Gisèle Pageau Human Rights Director, Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada

Good morning, everybody.

I've prepared a statement so that I can stay within the five minutes. I think I'm three seconds over, so I hope you'll indulge me.

The CEP appreciates the opportunity to appear before the standing committee and to comment on proposed Bill C-471. The CEP is one of Canada's largest private sector unions, representing about 120,000 workers in a wide range of occupations across Canada, including both the private and the broader public sectors. The CEP has a longstanding record of defending the human rights of its members, and we have a strong interest in pay equity matters. We were the first union to undertake joint union and management pay equity initiatives in several of Canada's private and publicly owned telephone companies. Our telephone operators lived through a 15-year nightmare as a result of inadequate legislation. The CEP fought hard to bring pay equity to 4,700 women, 18% of whom died before ever seeing any compensation.

We support Bill C-471, which will see the abolishment of the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act, the long overdue implementation of the 2004 pay equity task force recommendations, and finally will ensure that pay equity remains a human right for all women.

Sex- and gender-based pay inequity is a human rights issue. It is the result of systemic discrimination and societal perception of the value of work traditionally performed by women. Consequently, to consider pay equity as a labour issue to be dealt with at the bargaining table is not only detrimental, it is an inaccurate characterization of the nature of pay inequity. It is imperative that pay equity remain a human rights issue and not form part of collective bargaining schemes.

There are a number of reasons why the characterization of pay equity as simply an aspect of labour or employment law should be avoided. Firstly, to characterize it as such undermines Canada's international commitment to human rights, including equal pay for work of equal value. In a labour context, human rights are paramount, and parties cannot legally contract out of human rights obligations. Forcing pay equity into collective bargaining processes and out of the process of human rights would be to risk the bargaining away or erosion of whatever pay equity gains have been made for women. The rights of disadvantaged groups and minorities should never be subject to the whims of the majority.

Secondly, the inclusion of pay equity as an issue to be negotiated through collective bargaining ignores the systemic and encompassing nature of pay inequity. The systemic discrimination is reflected not just in the organization of workplaces but also in the structure and the strength of the bargaining units and unions. Bargaining units that are predominantly female may invite the replication of patterns and perceptions, or gender segregation and the undervaluing of work. This lends itself to an inherent though sometimes unconscious power imbalance at the bargaining table, thereby undermining the principles that pay equity attempts to promote.

We advocate a proactive, comprehensive, and collaborative model of pay equity legislation for all workplaces. While the CEP believes that individuals should have a mechanism available to them whereby complaints can be initiated, we acknowledge that the complaint-based system alone cannot ensure pay equity compliance. This would include a positive duty on employers to review organizational wage structures and remedy gender-biased pay equity practices. Audits must be conducted thoroughly and consistently to ensure a seamless continuity of pay equity throughout the federal sphere. In addition, employers must be provided with realistic and tangible timelines for the implementation of equitable wage structures and payouts for past discriminatory practices.

It is the view of the CEP that pay equity is not a one-time remedy, but rather pay equity in the workplace must be examined frequently. It should be said that union participation cannot be equated with union responsibility from a compensation perspective. Employers pay wages and are solely responsible for non-discriminatory compensation practices. The inherent power imbalance within the employer-union relationship and the fact that ultimately employers hold the purse strings precludes unions from liability for pay equity.

As you are all aware, the pay equity task force has exhaustively studied this issue. Almost 200 people gave oral presentations. There were 60 written submissions from groups across the country. There were five round-table discussions with multi-stakeholder groups. The task force looked at proactive pay equity legislation in a number of jurisdictions in Canada to identify best practices.

The CEP supports the task force recommendations. This government does not need to reinvent the wheel on this issue. It's time to put it to rest once and for all and do what's right and long overdue for the women of Canada.

Thank you.

October 28th, 2010 / 8:50 a.m.
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The Vice-Chair Conservative Cathy McLeod

I call the meeting to order.

Pursuant to the order of reference of Wednesday, May 5, 2010, we are considering Bill C-471, an act respecting the implementation of the recommendations of the pay equity task force and amending another act in consequence.

Today we have a number of witnesses. We have, from the Equal Pay Coalition of Ontario, Mary Cornish; from the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, Gisèle Pageau; from the Federally Regulated Employers - Transportation and Communications, FETCO, John Farrell and Barb Gagné; from Opus Mundi Canada, Paul Durber, senior consultant; and from Statistics Canada, Marie Drolet and Sylvie Michaud.

You'll have five minutes for your presentations, and then we'll be going into questions and answers. I believe most of you have been here before, so you're familiar with our routine.

We will start with the Equal Pay Coalition of Ontario.

Thank you.

October 26th, 2010 / 9:05 a.m.
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Women's and Human Rights Officer, Membership Programs Branch, Public Service Alliance of Canada

Andrée Côté

I hope I'll be okay on the time. I will try to slow down a little.

The pay equity task force calls for the adoption of a truly proactive pay equity law. That means placing positive obligations on employers to review compensation systems, to identify gender-based inequities, and to take steps to eliminate them. It includes timeframes for various steps in the process and mechanisms for maintaining pay equity.

The task force recommends also the establishment of joint pay equity committees to oversee the development and the maintenance of pay equity and the creation of a pay equity commission and a pay equity tribunal.

By contrast, the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act does not have any provisions giving unions the right to the information or data required to do an equitable compensation assessment, the right to paid time to participate in an equitable compensation assessment, the right to training, the creation of pay equity committees, and so on. The PSECA stipulates a joint responsibility of employers and unions, whereas the pay equity task force specifically recognized that joint responsibility for pay equity cannot exist in an environment where there is an imbalance between the power of employers and that of employees and their unions.

The position of the federal government as both employer and legislator is a clear example of this imbalance. Nowhere was it more obvious and ironic than in the 2009 federal budget, which contained both the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act and the legislated wage rates that were imposed on public sector workers.

The PSECA is a very far cry from real proactive pay equity legislation, and the proposed regulations that will bring the PSECA into force are, even more so, taking us backwards. As I mentioned, the regulations would specify a higher burden of proof. Women will be required to prove both gender discrimination and wage discrimination. They will provide for comparing female-predominant job classes to job classes that involve similar work, not work of equal value.

Even the unilateral consultation process that was engaged in by Treasury Board is flawed to the point where we question its legitimacy. While PSAC has participated when requested in two consultation sessions, dates have been unilaterally imposed, documents have been sent at the very last minute, and most of the presenters and facilitators in these consultations appeared to be employer oriented. The comments provided by PSAC and other bargaining agents from the first round of consultations were not included in the documents for the second round of consultations.

In 2010, far too many working women are not being paid the full value of their work because of residual systemic sex discrimination in the workplace. Indeed, as Kate mentioned, CEDAW, the United Nations committee, has remarked on several occasions that Canada is not doing enough on the issue of pay equity.

More than 30 years after the adoption of the Canadian Human Rights Act, it's time to do something to end this form of pervasive discrimination. The federal government should be playing a leadership role in this regard. The Public Service Alliance of Canada, on behalf of its members, strongly urges this committee to support the passage of Bill C-471 and to once again call on the federal government to fully implement the pay equity task force recommendations.

Thank you very much.

October 26th, 2010 / 9 a.m.
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Andrée Côté Women's and Human Rights Officer, Membership Programs Branch, Public Service Alliance of Canada

I'll be speaking. Thank you.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada appreciates this opportunity to share our comments and recommendations in regard to Bill C-471, the Pay Equity Task Force Recommendations Act.

We have provided you with our brief and supporting documentation in French, but I have not had time to prepare speaking notes in French. I apologize for that. So I will give my presentation in English. I will be pleased, of course, to respond to questions in French.

PSAC represents 185,00 members from coast to coast to coast. The majority of our members are women. After years of tribunal hearings and court cases in the pursuit of pay equity, it's no surprise that we and our members were outraged when the Conservative government stripped public sector workers of their right to pay equity by including the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act in the Budget Implementation Act and forcing it through Parliament in just a few weeks.

PSECA is fundamentally flawed and cannot be improved by amendment. It must be abrogated, as provided in BillC-471.

In May 2009, the PSAC came to this committee and outlined in detail our concerns with PSECA, so I'll review them in a very summary way today.

The Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act will, in a nutshell, do four things: make it more difficult to claim pay equity; transform pay equity from a human rights to an equitable compensation matter that must be addressed at the bargaining table; completely remove pay equity from the human rights framework and prohibit federal public sector workers from filing pay equity complaints under the Canadian Human Rights Act; and prohibit unions from representing their own members by fining them for assisting their members in filing pay equity complaints with the Public Service Labour Relations Board.

Our more detailed analysis of the PSECA is in the document entitled “The End of Pay Equity for Women in the Federal Public Service” that is appended to our brief.

The proposed regulatory framework that is being examined by the federal government, and by Treasury Board in particular, would make things even worse. The proposed regulations would impose a higher burden of proof to demonstrate the existence of a so-called “pay equity matter” under PSECA. The regulations would trivialize several female-predominant job classes and would propose the use of wrong comparators for the purpose of comparing women's work of equal value.

This PSECA law is so flawed that PSAC has challenged its constitutional validity in courts. The case is now proceeding. We have also filed a communication with the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, which is appended to our brief. You can consult that.

The PSECA does not solve any of the many problems identified with the ongoing complaints-based system under the Canadian Human Rights Act, and other federally regulated workplaces are still having to deal with this ineffective system. For example, the PSAC has an outstanding pay equity complaint against Canada Post that we filed in 1983 and it is still before the courts.

It's precisely because of the failure of the complaints-based model and the ineffectiveness and discriminatory impact of the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act that PSAC fully supports Bill C-471 and calls for the immediate abrogation of this ill-advised and ill-conceived piece of legislation.

In addition to eliminating the PSECA, there's a need for real proactive pay equity legislation. In its groundbreaking report entitled “Pay Equity: A Fundamental Human Right”, the task force concluded that the existing complaints-based legislation under the Canadian Human Rights Act needs to be replaced by a proactive pay equity law.

Last week, Treasury Board spokesperson Hélène Laurendeau came to this committee and told you that PSECA is proactive and that it incorporates several key recommendations from the pay equity task force. She even suggested that the PSECA builds on proactive models such as the Quebec Pay Equity Act.

In fact, PSECA takes an approach that is in direct opposition to the task force recommendations. For example, PSECA transforms pay equity into a labour relations issue subject to bargaining. The pay equity task force was very clear in its recommendation that the process for achieving pay equity be separated from the process for negotiating collective agreements. The task force extensively studied, consulted, and discussed the issue, and concluded that pay equity is a human rights issue, not a labour relations matter. Pay equity is a mechanism for achieving women's right to equality in the workplace, not an issue to be used as a bargaining chip.

The task force calls for the adoption of a proactive pay equity law that places positive obligations on the employers to review compensation systems—

October 26th, 2010 / 8:50 a.m.
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Barbara Byers Executive Vice-President, Canadian Labour Congress

Thanks very much.

I also have prepared shorter remarks because I think we want to engage in the discussion with people here in the room.

I'm going to forewarn you that this will be a verbal presentation this morning, but we will send over our presentation as soon as it comes out of translation at our office. Just to make sure that you're not short on things to read, we did bring you copies of our research paper number 47, “Pay Inequity”, our analysis of the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act. That should give you a little bit of time to read before you get the other remarks.

As always, we want to thank you on behalf of the 3.2 million members of the Canadian Labour Congress for having us here to present our views on Bill C-471. As you know, the CLC brings together national and international unions, federations of labour, and labour councils. We work in every community, in all kinds of occupations, and in all parts of Canada.

This bill provides for the implementation of the recommendations of the task force on pay equity. As you know, these recommendations were the result of years of careful and comprehensive study and consultation and were widely supported by labour and women's organizations. The study could be the most significant and in-depth study of pay equity anywhere that we've been able to find.

The task force recommended a series of measures that would have transformed the federal pay equity regime and made it more effective and fair for women working in the federal sector. I'm going to highlight some key recommendations that the Canadian Labour Congress singled out for support when the report was issued in 2004. I'm also going to contrast these recommendations with the Conservative government's response to the task force, which is the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act, or what I'm going to just call ECA.

I just want to say as well that this is a little bit like déjà vu: how many times do we end up appearing in front of this committee on pay equity in some form? It's time to get the job done.

The task force recommended that “Parliament enact new stand-alone, proactive pay equity legislation in order that Canada can more effectively meet its internal obligations and domestic commitments, and that such legislation be characterized as human rights legislation”.

This recognition that pay equity is a fundamental human right acknowledges that we require systemic solutions to eliminate systemic discrimination. In contrast, the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act completely ignores this fundamental recommendation and proposes the exact opposite, relegating pay equity to the bargaining table.

The task force recognized that Canadian workers who belonged to other designated equity-seeking groups also experienced wage discrimination. A proactive pay equity law would be expanded to cover racialized workers, aboriginal workers, and workers with disabilities. This expansion of pay equity was ignored by ECA.

The task force placed the onus on employers to correct discriminatory wage disparities. It also obligated employers to work with unions and employee groups by creating pay equity committees to prepare and monitor pay equity plans in all workplaces, unionized or not. These committees should include a significant proportion of women workers from predominantly female job classes, and the plans would cover all workers, regardless of full-time, part-time, contract, or casual status.

Although the current government labelled its Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act “proactive”, we are not convinced that this is so. That act does not place the responsibility for eliminating discriminatory wages on employers alone; it introduces market forces as a factor for consideration when valuing women's work in the public sector. It only targets certain employers, redefines a “female predominant” group, and restricts the comparator groups, thus making it more difficult to establish where wage discrimination exists. This is not proactive pay equity legislation in any form.

The pay equity task force proposed the establishment of a separate pay equity commission to assist employees, employers, and unions to provide education on pay equity issues and to resolve any disagreements. Rather than establishing a separate body for specific pay equity expertise, the government's ECA refers disputes to the Public Service Labour Relations Board, prohibits unions from filing complaints, and compels women to file complaints alone, without the support of their union.

It's difficult to imagine a system further from the vision articulated by the pay equity task force, despite the government's claims that they acted in the spirit of its recommendations.

It's been six and a half years since the task force on pay equity tabled its report and recommendations and six and a half years since the Canadian Labour Congress and others have been advocating for its implementation. Given the amount of work that went into the development of the task force, it's shocking and quite frankly shameful that this report has been relegated to the archives without any meaningful implementation.

But women have been waiting far longer than six and half years. We've been waiting for decades and decades and decades. We've waited while we've haggled with resistant employers at the bargaining table. We've waited while settlements have been held up by employers who drag their feet in lengthy court proceedings, and, as some of us heard just last weekend at a conference in the Bell Canada case, 18% of the women who were affected died while that was being fought out. We've waited at great expense in many ways.

We've waited, and we've advocated for proactive pay equity legislation, as leaving the matter to collective bargaining or to a complaint-based system simply does not help us close the wage gap for women in this country. While we wait, the debt owed to women who were caught in the wage gap continues to mount: women with children to raise, women who deserve a dignified retirement, and women in every sector and community in our country.

Justice delayed is justice denied. We urge you to support this private member's bill and to bring proactive pay equity to Canada's working women.

Merci beaucoup.

October 26th, 2010 / 8:50 a.m.
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Kate McInturff Executive Director, Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action

Thanks very much.

I was anticipating five minutes so I'll be brief. Perhaps there will be more time for questions.

Thank you for asking me to appear today. I appreciate the invitation to speak on Bill C-471.

There has been a lot of discussion about how you measure the wage gap between men and women in Canada, but I think by any measure we can say that pay inequity exists in Canada today. There is no substantial research showing anything other than that, either by the government's own measure or by the measures of organizations such as the OECD. Whether you compare hourly wages or annual earnings, all the data demonstrates that when men and women go to work in Canada, they come home with different paycheques.

When a person shows up for work on time, performs their duties, and meets their obligations to their employers, we expect that they will be paid for their work, yet for nearly two hours out of every full day of work, women are not being paid. More than that, women are not being paid because they are women. This is the heart of the human rights claim: that it is discriminatory, that the wage gap is based on discrimination against women because they are women.

That kind of discrimination is precisely what our own charter protects Canadian citizens against. That is what the Government of Canada is obliged to protect its citizens against, under both its own charter and a number of international norms and conventions, including: the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which requires the government to take proactive measures to ensure that such inequity does not continue; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which protects the economic rights of men and women equally; the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which takes as one of its critical areas of concern the economy and women's access and full participation in the economy; and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

It's worth noting that most of the monitoring bodies internationally that examine Canada's compliance have cited Canada for the continuing gap and failure to redress that gap in pay equity. For example, Canada accepted recommendation 16 under the first Universal Periodic Review to redress the wage gap through, among other things—and these are the words of the government—“pay equity legislation”.

These obligations to the human rights of Canadians cannot be subject to collective bargaining. Subjecting human rights to collective bargaining is analogous to suggesting that when someone breaks their leg they should sit back and wait for a few months while their employer and the government decide who's going to pay, how much, if anything, and when, so that they can maybe access health care.

Repealing the PSEC act and implementing the recommendations of the Pay Equity Task Force in a timely manner—in short, enacting Bill C-471—will ensure that Canada is meeting its obligations to uphold the human rights of everyone who lives and works here in Canada. This is what the government has obligated itself to do under the charter and under the international human rights instruments I've mentioned. This is what I believe they should do.

Thank you very much.