November 18, 2011
It was a long time coming, but the Supreme Court of Canada has settled the 28 year long battle between the Public Service Alliance of Canada and Canada Post over gender discrimination against female employees at the post office. In 2005, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal agreed with the union that thousands of women who worked at Canada Post had been discriminated against when the employer paid them a lower wage than they should have been, simply because they were women. The Tribunal ordered Canada Post to pay $150 million to right the wrong.
PSAC Vice President Patty Ducharme celebrated the victory and said, “It’s over. We have a decision and it’s over.”
The union filed its initial pay equity complaint against Canada Post in 1983 on behalf of 2,300 of its members following a union initiated pay-equity analysis. A tribunal found in favour of the women, but the employer appealed and the ruling was overturned by the Federal Court – a decision later upheld by the Federal Court of Appeal.
PSAC and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal successfully sought leave for appeal from the Supreme Court of Canada last year, leading to the victory. The award will compensate women employees who were discriminated against between 1983 and 2002. In 2002, the union was able to erase the gender-based pay gap through contract negiations.