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PHOLine: Pay equity update: more meetings planned

OPSEU Blood Services and Diagnostics

OPSEU and Public Health Ontario (PHO) have continued to meet to review the pay equity plan put forward by the employer. The employer has also agreed to provide OPSEU with the proper disclosure so that a fulsome review of the plan can take place. This review will include items such as gender incumbency, vacant and missing job classes, and the banding of jobs. The parties are in discussions to secure meeting dates and the committee will be reporting back to the membership through this newsletter with any updates, once available.

In solidarity,
Your OPSEU representatives to the Central Union Management Team

OPSEU Representatives to the Central Union Management Team

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

PHO pay equity: a brief background

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 comply with the Pay Equity Act. In 2016, Public Health Ontario was selected and it was found to be in violation of the Act.

As your legal bargaining agent, OPSEU strongly believes that it must be part of the comparison process. It’s why OPSEU works with its members by electing a pay equity committee in locals and/or sectors.

However, the Commission’s review officer issued an order in May 2016 to exclude OPSEU from the process. The PHO was told to go it alone.

OPSEU believes this is wrong. We took the position that pay equity is a joint responsibility between the employer and the union representing its workers. The union took the position it should have been included in the negotiation of a pay equity plan for bargaining unit members in the plan. On August 4, 2016, OPSEU served PHO with a formal Notice to Bargain Pay Equity. The employer ignored the notice and proceeded unilaterally to put together a pay equity plan.

On November 3, 2016, 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 by excluding some female jobs that may be owed pay equity adjustments.

The following day, November 4, OPSEU filed an appeal with the Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal.

On March 15, 2017, the parties held a pre-hearing with review services from the pay equity commission and have agreed to continue discussions. OPSEU now has the ability to review the plan.

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