Pay Equity - Separate employers
December 2, 2002
Statement of Claim in the Federal Court for
seven separate employers
Two years ago, in
November 2000, the PSAC filed a Statement of Claim on behalf of our current and
former members working for seven separate employers under Part II of the Public
Service Staff Relations Act, arguing that the federal pay equity adjustments
should apply to these employers as well. The case has been off to a slow start
as a result of legal challenges by the federal government to have the Claim
Legal counsel for the
two parties have met and worked out a timetable for the various stages of the
legal process regarding the Statement of Claim. Here are some key actions which
are scheduled for next year.
The parties need to serve affidavits of documents by February 28,
The parties are to file any motions regarding the production of
documents no later than March 31, 2003.
Examinations for Discovery are to be completed by June 30, 2003.
The parties must file any motions regarding issues which have
arisen as a result of the Discoveries no later than October 31, 2003.
If the union wants a pre-trial conference, it must request it by
November 30, 2003.
While this timetable
has been agreed to now, it is not carved in stone. Either of the parties can
request that it be altered by applying to the Case Management Judge. The
timetable may also be altered by other actions.
Having failed three
times to have the PSAC’s Claim dismissed by the Federal Court without a hearing,
the government has indicated that it may try to have the case stayed without a
hearing until the human rights complaint discussed below has been heard.
Complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission
Earlier this year, the
union also filed a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC)
alleging discrimination by Treasury Board for not extending the pay equity
adjustments to the employees of these separate employers. The complaint also
covers employees of a number of separate employers under the Canada Labour Code
represented by the union. The union filed the complaint to ensure that every
possible avenue was being explored to achieve pay equity.
The employers have now
filed their initial response to this complaint. In response, PSAC has
reiterated our position that this complaint should be held in abeyance until the
Statement of Claim in the Federal Court is resolved.
The PSAC’s position is
that the Statement of Claim should be heard first and the human rights complaint
held in abeyance because the Charter issues raised in the Federal Court will
form an important basis for the resolution of the CHRC complaint. The
government’s attempt to hold up the Statement of Claim through unnecessary legal
wrangling is just one of its many tactics to avoid pay equity - tactics learned
well during the 16-year federal pay equity complaint.
whole case is not going to be resolved quickly. When the union finally gets a
chance to argue the merits of our case in the Federal Court, we expect that
stage will take about two years. Once a decision is issued, it is open to
appeal by either party. However, while it will take time to reach a conclusion,
members should be encouraged by the results we were able to achieve through
persistence in our federal complaint.
Updates on the
progress of this case will be published whenever there is news to report.