Union wins Canada Post pay equity case at Supreme Court of Canada

Court upholds 2005 human rights decision for $150 million
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 11/18/2011

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled in favour of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) in a 28-year old pay equity case involving women at Canada Post.

The union first filed a complaint over unequal pay for about 2,300 women in 1983. It claimed women were being discriminated against under the Canadian Human Rights Act because they made lower wages in clerical and regulatory (CR) positions compared to work of equal value performed by men in various operations jobs, including letter carriers.

In 2005, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal upheld the pay equity complaint against Canada Post and awarded 50 per cent of the wage gap in damages, or $150 million. Since then, the corporation has fought the decision, which was overturned by the Federal Court in 2008 and the Federal Court of Appeal in 2010.

But the Supreme Court upheld the original decision of the tribunal, reinstating the damages that had been awarded to PSAC’s members.

Anyone who worked as a CR at Canada Post between 1982 and 2002 will now be eligible to receive pay equity payments, said PSAC.

“Today we celebrate a hard-won victory for equality,” said PSAC national executive vice-president Patty Ducharme. “But the fact that this took 28 years is completely unacceptable. 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.”

Canada Post said it would abide by the decision.

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