Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak in the House today to the issue of pay equity.
Our government believes that this is not a partisan issue. While we are working to advance social policies on pay equity, equality, and diversity, we have to stand together and involve all hon. members instead of working in a vacuum as the government or a political party in order to build a better and fairer Canada.
We believe that equal pay for work of equal value must be considered a fundamental human right. I do not disagree with my colleague across the way. This is unequivocal, and this principle was enshrined in the Canadian Human Rights Act, framed by constitutional guarantees of equality.
The goal of pay equity policy and legislation is to ensure that pay is based on the value of the work, not the gender of those doing the work.
In 1977, the Government of Canada became the first Canadian government to adopt legislative provisions on pay equity, which are found in section 11 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.
Under these provisions, pay equity complaints could be filed, which was considered progressive at the time. However, the context has changed and now it is time for the Government of Canada to reevaluate how pay equity is addressed.
We are committed to resolving pay equity in a balanced and responsible way, which is why the government supported the creation of the special committee on pay equity. The committee heard from a number of different witnesses, and much of the discussion focused around the pros and cons of the Canadian Human Rights Act, the Bilson report, and the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act.
These systems attempt to address the pay equity issue, each by implementing different solutions arising from various decision points. Our government is taking action in response to the recent report of the special committee on pay equity. However, before we can implement pay equity in the federal sector, we need to undertake a careful review of the issue. This is why we need to hold meaningful consultations and carefully study the pay equity issue.
The government will then be able to table proactive pay equity legislation for federally regulated workplaces by the end of 2018. The committee's findings and recommendations will play an important role as we move forward to develop a new approach to pay equity.
I thank my colleague for raising this very important question, and I look forward to my colleague across the way supporting our upcoming legislation regarding pay equity.