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PHOLine: OPSEU appeals pay equity ruling

Gavel behind deskplate that says "Equal Pay"

The Ontario Pay Equity Act is a proactive piece of human rights legislation. Pay equity is a minimum legal standard that requires employers to redress systemic gender discrimination in compensation practices. To ensure compliance, female-dominated jobs must be compared to male-dominated jobs to ensure that work of equal value is compensated equally.

The Pay Equity Commission of Ontario conducts a “monitoring” program. The commission randomly selects employers in Ontario with 10 or more employees to see if they have complied with the Pay Equity Act. In 2016, Public Health Ontario (PHO) was selected and it was found to be in violation of the Act.

It is OPSEU's position that, as your legal bargaining agent, the union must be part of the comparison process. OPSEU works with its members by way of electing a pay equity committee in locals and/or sectors. 

However, the Commission's review officer issued an order eight months ago in to exclude us from the process. The Commission directed PHO to conduct a unilateral evaluation of your work. 

OPSEU believes this is wrong. Our position is the Pay Equity Commission legally erred and should have ordered that your employer must work with the OPSEU and its members to achieve pay equity.

On August 4, 2016, OPSEU served PHO with an official Notice to Bargain Pay Equity. We said: do the right thing and meet with us. The employer did not reach out to OPSEU to negotiate.  The employer proceeded unilaterally to put together a pay equity plan without the union’s participation.

On November 3, the employer paid out the pay equity adjustments to those classifications that the employer believed were owed an adjustment. We believe the employer's pay equity analysis is wrong. We think that the employer likely missed female jobs that may be owed pay equity adjustments.

The following day, November 4, OPSEU filed an appeal with the Pay Equity Hearing Tribunal. We are working closely with your Central Union Management Committee as we proceed with the next steps through the pay equity appeal process.

Thank you, Ellen Goslin!

We would like to thank Ellen Goslin, our bargaining team chair, for all her hard work and dedication over the years and wish her the best in her retirement. It is well deserved! Former vice-chair Shah Nawaz takes over as chair of the team.

From all of us on the Central Union Management Committee, we wish all PHO members a healthy and prosperous 2017.

In solidarity,

Shah Nawaz, Chair
Brenda Boyle
Clay McKibbon
Robert Thomas
Andrew Ruszczak, OPSEU Negotiator,