April 17 2024

Pay Equity Obligations

In Peel (Regional Municipality) v CUPE, Local 966, (2023)354 L.A.C. (4th), the Union sought a preliminary order directing the Employer to disclose gender incumbency data.  The Employer had refused to provide the data, arguing that the Pay Equity Act is silent as to what pay equity maintenance duties include.  The Employer further argued that, once pay equity is achieved, the obligation to maintain pay equity is the sole responsibility of the Employer and that the Union is only entitled to information to the extent necessary to demonstrate that pay equity has been achieved and maintained.

CUPE argued that, while the Pay Equity Act is silent on the requirement to disclose pay equity information to a Union, the jurisprudence affirms the Employer’s obligation to disclose pay equity information in the context of the duty to bargain in good faith as well as the pay equity maintenance provisions.  The Union specifically relied on section 7 of the Act (which prohibits an employer or bargaining agent from bargaining for or agreeing to compensation practices that, if adopted, would cause a contravention of the Act) and argued that, because section 14.1 requires an employer to negotiate with the bargaining agent where there is a changed circumstance (e.g., a change in the gender predominance of comparator jobs), the Employer’s refusal to disclose the data potentially prevented the Union from meeting its own obligations to members with regard to pay equity maintenance.

Arbitrator Hayes agreed with the Union and directed the Employer to provide the Union with the requested gender incumbency data for all job classifications listed in the parties’ Pay Equity Maintenance Summary.  If you have questions about pay equity, please contact Samantha Lamb at slamb@jewittmcluckie.ca.

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