Canada Post to pay millions after losing 28-year pay equity battle
Canada Post has said it will comply with a court ruling that could mean paying $150m in compensation to female workers historically paid less than their male counterparts. The Supreme Court of Canada last week turned down the Corporation’s appeal in the long-running case, which has been in the courts since a complaint was filed by the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) back in 1983.
The ruling issued by the Chief Justice Beverley McLaughlin on Thursday upheld a 2005 judgement by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal that awarded 50% of the wage gap in damages.
It now means that female staff working in Canada Post’s clerical and regulatory group between 1982 and 2002 will be eligible to receive pay-equity compensation, the union said.
Patty Ducharme, national executive vice-president of PSAC said the ruling was a “hard-won victory for equality”, but added that it was “unacceptable” the case took 28 years to resolve.
“Canada needs a proactive pay equity law that ensures that women won’t have to wait decades to be compensated for the value of their work,” said Ducharme.
PSAC said Canada Post had used “every possible legal avenue” to overturn the Tribunal’s verdict. The union will now push Canada Post to issue payments as soon as possible.
In a statement issued to Post&Parcel today, a spokesperson for Canada Post said: “We respect the decision of the Supreme Court and will abide by their ruling.”
The original 1983 complaint from PSAC was made under the Canadian Human Rights Act, suggesting that women were making less money at Canada Post than men working comparable jobs.
The 2005 Tribunal hearing compared wages of 6,000 current and former clerical staff to those of men working in comparable positions in postal operations.
The Canadian federal system has been subject to a number of legal battles over pay equity over the years, which saw a $3.2bn settlement from the government in the late 1990s in a dispute with 230,000 federal workers.
A law was passed in 2009 that requires workers to secure pay equity through the collective bargaining process, rather than through the law courts.