Statement Article from  Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

Statement by the President of the Treasury Board Welcoming the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act

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February 6, 2009

Ottawa – The Honourable Vic Toews, President of the Treasury Board, today released the following statement on the introduction of the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act.

“As the President of the largest employer in the federal public sector, I welcome the new Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act.

Our government respects the principle of equal pay for work of equal value. That is why we have taken action to update the lengthy, costly and adversarial complaint-based pay equity regime. It didn’t serve employees or employers well. In many cases women were waiting 15 years or more for a resolution to pay equity complaints after gruelling and divisive debates in court.

The Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act sets out a new, proactive approach to ensure compensation is equitable. The Act makes employers and bargaining agents jointly accountable for ensuring that wages are fair for all employees through the collective bargaining process – the forum for wage setting in a unionized environment. For non-unionized employees, the Act sets out a rigorous process to ensure employers address issues in a timely way.

Further, the new Act strengthens transparency and accountability by requiring employers and bargaining agents to provide reports to employees explaining what has been done to ensure equitable compensation.

Over the past 10 years, women have made important strides in the federal public service and with a continuously increasing number of women in our workforce, our government is determined to put in place a system that is more timely and proactive in providing equitable compensation.

The new system maintains the right of women to lodge complaints through the Public Service Labour Relations Board, an independent body. This organization has played a key role as a neutral third-party in resolving issues around collective bargaining and is providing research on wages to support the parties through the bargaining process.

We look forward to working with our partners to develop regulations to bring into effect the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act.”

For more information, contact:

Christine Csversko
Director of Communications
Office of the President of the Treasury Board
(613) 957-2666

Robert Makichuk
Chief, Media Relations
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
(613) 957-2391

If there is a discrepancy between any printed version and the electronic version of this news release, the electronic version will prevail.


Fact Sheet - The Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act

This government respects the principle of equal pay for work of equal value – a fundamental right guaranteed under the Canadian Human Rights Act. The existing complaint-based pay equity regime has left us with a lengthy, costly and adversarial process and does not take into account the realities of the Canadian labour market.

The Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act sets out a new, more proactive and timely regime to address these issues in the federal public sector. The new approach is:

  • proactive – employers are required to proactively ensure wages are equitable, either through equitable compensation plans for non-unionized employees or with bargaining agents through the collective bargaining wage-setting process for unionized employees;
  • timely – issues are resolved as they arise within the collective bargaining process for unionized employees or through established wage-setting processes for non-unionized employees instead of through lengthy legal proceedings;
  • fair – all employees will have access to the Public Service Labour Relations Board, an independent and neutral third party, to settle complaints; and
  • collaborative – employers and bargaining agents are jointly accountable for ensuring equitable compensation.

The legislation applies to the Treasury Board of Canada as employer for departments and agencies listed in Schedule I and IV of the Financial Administration Act, to separate agencies as employers for departments and agencies listed in Schedule V of the Financial Administration Act, to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and to the Canadian Forces.

Feature Current Regime Public Sector Equitable
Compensation Act
Legislation Canadian Human Rights Act (Section 11). Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act
Accountability Employer had the sole accountability. Employer and union have joint accountability for unionized employees; employer has accountability for non-unionized employees.
Application Applied to the federal public service and the federally regulated private sector. Applies to the Treasury Board of Canada as employer of departments and agencies in Schedule I and IV of the Financial Administration Act, separate agencies as employers for departments and agencies listed in Schedule V of the Financial Administration Act, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Forces.
Proactivity No proactive action guaranteed in the legislation. Requires federal public service employers and unions to act proactively to ensure equitable compensation through collective bargaining and for employers to establish proactive equitable compensation plans for non-unionized employees.
Value of work Value assessed on skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions. Value assessed on skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions along with consideration of qualifications and market factors.
Thresholds Set the gender predominance threshold at 70% for groups with under 100 employees, 60% for groups between 100 and 500 employees, and 55% for groups of over 500 employees. Sets the gender predominance threshold at 70% for all employee groups.
Recourse Canadian Human Rights Commission addressed all complaints. Public Service Labour Relations Board to address complaints made by employees in the federal public sector.


Fact Sheet - The Public Service of Today and Tomorrow

Over the past 10 years, there has been a remarkable change in the face of Canada’s public service. Our compensation packages are designed to attract and retain the men and women needed to maintain a qualified and vibrant workforce.

Today’s public service provides women and men with equal access to all positions and identical wages within the same groups and levels.

The government recognizes that work-life balance is important to the workforce; women and men have equal access to a full range of family-friendly benefits.

  • 1 full year parental leave at 93% of the employee’s salary
  • 5 paid days of leave for family-related reasons
  • up to 5 years of unpaid leave for the care and nurturing of children

Of note are the important strides women have made, and continue to make, in our workforce. The so called “wage gap” between wages for men and women in the public service decreased by 5.7% since 1999. Today, women in the Core Public Administration make on average almost 90% of men’s salaries. Further, since 1999, women have accessed more top jobs in the public service. Some groups have seen women representation increase by over 50%.

  • 55.9% of knowledge workers, compared to 46.6% in 1995 (Statistics Canada May 2008)
  • 41% of senior and executive ranks , compared to 26% in 1998-1999
  • 50.1% of the economist group, compared to 36.8% in 1998-1999
  • 43.3% of the commerce officer group, compared to 33.1% in 1998-1999

To set the stage for the public service of tomorrow, the Government of Canada is determined to ensure that women and men continue to benefit from quality working conditions.

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