Pay equity legislation delayed

Canadian Labour Congress cries foul over delay in passing laws to ensure women receive equal pay for equal work

The federal government's claim that it needs more time to study and consult before introducing effective pay equity legislation is unacceptable, the Canadian Labour Congress said in a statement yesterday.

"How many times do working women have to repeat themselves? What is it about paying women equally for their work and for the time they spend away from their families that these guys don't get?" asked Barbara Byers, executive vice-president of the Canadian Labour Congress.

About 40 per cent of the country's workforce is covered by pay equity legislation through laws in Ontario and Quebec. But recognizing the right of women to equal pay in the federal jurisdiction keeps getting stalled.

In a letter to the Chair of the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on the Status of Women, the ministers of labour and justice claim the language used in the Pay Equity Task Force report is too complex and additional study is needed.

Byers says the recommendations of the task force are clear enough. They represent what women want and are the least that working citizens should expect from their government — respect for their rights as human beings.

"Ministers need to keep their promises and deliver pay equity legislation now. We've had the consultations, and the studies, and even hearings by a parliamentary committee. What more do they need?" asks Byers.

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