The 30-year battle over pay equity at Canada Post has come to an end, and cheques are going in the mail starting in August.
Canada Post said it was “pleased” to have reached a memorandum of agreement with the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) in accordance with a 2005 Canadian Human Rights Tribunal pay equity ruling that was confirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada on Nov. 17, 2011.
“PSAC started this process in 1983 with a complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission and has stuck with it through literally hundreds of days of tribunal hearings and numerous court battles,” said PSAC national president Robyn Benson. “Now the members are finally going to get what they have deserved for so long.”
Canada Post said the agreement is consistent with other public-sector pay equity agreements, and provides the corporation with the “certainty and clarity required to begin proceeding with payments to eligible employees.”
Published reports say the ruling will impact about 30,000 employees and will cost Canada Post in the neighbourhood of $250 million.
The company said it is facing a difficult financial situation, but it takes the payments related to the court ruling seriously.
“A dedicated team of employees has already been carefully reviewing tens of thousands of individual employee files and records — both paper and electronic — that span decades,” it said in a press release. “That complex work will continue in order to determine eligibility and apply the memorandum of agreement.”
Canada Post will begin making some payments on Aug. 1, 2013, it said, but the process will take time. Former and current employees who are eligible will be notified in writing as the process unfolds.
Battle over interest
PSAC said delays in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling came when Canada Post said it would pay 80 per cent of the interest — which is still accumulating — owing on the pay equity adjustments.
“PSAC agreed to Canada Post paying 90 per cent of the interest owed so that members could finally see a payout,” said Benson. “We wanted to get as much as possible but we know there are retired members who really need the money and we didn't want to see even more cheques going to estates.”