Pay and Employment Equity
Many employees continue to face workplace discrimination. Women’s work continues to be paid substantially less than comparable men’s work. Women, racialized persons, aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and gay, lesbian and transgender persons face widespread discrimination in hiring, working conditions and promotion opportunities.
We assist unions and employees to gain access to these rights through our role in the development, implementation and enforcement of proactive equity laws. We continue to search for new ways to make pay and employment equity an employment reality.
Our services to unions, employees and professionals in this area includes advice, representation and consulting services:
- litigating complaints under pay, employment and human rights laws;
- appearing before Review Officers, the Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal and the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario;
- using collective agreement grievance procedures, Labour Relations Board bargaining complaints, Charter litigation and political action to achieve equity; and
- developing pay and employment equity plans, including the choice of gender neutral comparison systems, job evaluation processes and appropriate collective agreement language.
Recent notable cases include:
- Association of Ontario Midwives v. Ontario (Health and Long-Term Care), in which the Firm represented the Association of Ontario Midwives in an application to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario ("HRTO"), which alleged that the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care had discriminated against midwives on the basis of sex with respect to their compensation and funding formula. In a landmark ruling, the HRTO found that the Ministry's conduct and inaction resulted in a significant compensation gap between midwives and physicians providing comparable services, which amounted to impermissible systemic discrimination based on sex.
- Canada Post Corporation v Canadian Union of Postal Workers, which held that the Canada Post Corporation was liable for failing to provide pay equity for thousands of women who work as rural and suburban mail service carriers. Arbitrator Flynn determined that the predominantly women Rural Suburban Mail Couriers ("RSMCs"), who were paid on a piece-rate-like system, performed work of equal value to Urban Letter Carriers for significantly less pay. Arbitrator Flynn further found, in a later decision, that the average weighted pay gap between the two groups was $5.31 an hour, and ordered that the RSMCs receive a pay increase of that amount, along with many other benefits, including vacation leave and pre-retirement leave.