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ARCHIVED - 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 document, 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.

Table
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 female predominant job 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.


Frequently Asked Questions - Expenditure Restraint Act

What does the Expenditure Restraint Act do?

The Expenditure Restraint Act:

  • controls expenditures by setting increases in the rates of pay of unionized and non-unionized employees in the federal public sector until 2010-2011;
  • maintains collective bargaining with established dispute resolution mechanisms (strike or arbitration).

What are the increases to rates of pay set out in the Expenditure Restraint Act?

The Expenditure Restraint Act sets all increases prior to December 8, 2008 that have not yet been set, and provides for all increases to rates of pay due after December 8, 2008 to: 

  • 1.5% in 2008-2009;
  • 1.5% in 2009-2010; and
  • 1.5% in 2010-2011.

Will employees who have already received pay increases before December 8, 2008 be asked to give money back if their increases where higher than those in the legislation?

No. Employees who received an increase in their rates of pay before December 8, 2008 will keep those increases.

To whom does the Expenditure Restraint Act apply?

This legislation applies to:

  • all employees and executives in the core public administration;
  • all employees and executives in separate agencies;
  • all employees and executives in the House of Commons, Senate and Library of Parliament, the Office of the Senate Ethics Officer and the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner;
  • all Members of the House of Commons and the Senate;
  • all employees and executives in Crown Corporations whose salaries are funded through appropriations voted by Parliament, such as the CBC-Radio-Canada, the Canadian Tourism Commission, museums and galleries;
  • all members of the Canadian Forces;
  • all members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP); and
  • the Chief Electoral Officer.

This represents over 400,000 employees in the federal public sector.

What about Ministers' exempt staff?

Ministers' exempt staff will not receive any wage increases. The November 2008 Policies and Guidelines for Ministers' Office have maintained the same salary ranges for all Ministers' Offices exempt staff as those in effect since June 21, 2006. This is a prerogative of the Prime Minister.