Press Release


The New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity Supports the Bill Introduced by Michael Ignatieff


The New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity joins the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) and the Canadian Federation of University Women in supporting Bill C-471, debated yesterday in the House of Commons. On October 29, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff introduced a private bill that would recognize pay equity as a fundamental human right.

“This bill is a good example for New Brunswick, as Canada has already signed international treaties that recognize pay equity as a human right. Bill C-471 complies with Canadian obligations in regards to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women”, says Coalition President Marilyn MacCormack.
Bill C-471 would amend the provisions of the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act. The latter spurred protest across the country when it was enacted early in 2009, because it leaves pay equity open for negotiation and subjects it to the market. It also threatens fines of up to $50,000 for unions that would encourage its members to lodge a pay equity complaint. Michael Ignatieff’s bill would force the federal government to take a proactive approach including all recommendations made by the Pay Equity Task Force in 2004.
“The Coalition for Pay Equity supports Bill C-471, since current legislation puts federal public sector employees in the unacceptable position of negotiating their rights. The New Brunswick Liberal Party should follow this example, by continuing the work initiated in the public sector and enacting legislation for the private sector”, notes Johanne Perron, Executive Director for the non-profit organization.
On the same day the debate took place in the House of Commons, the Coalition participated in a roundtable discussion on pay equity as a human right, hosted by the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission. Individuals who hold traditionally or predominantly female jobs are still often underpaid and undervalued, in New Brunswick’s private sector.
The authority to legislate so as to ensure workers’ rights in sectors such as the federal public service, banks, interprovincial transportation and telecommunications rests entirely on the federal government. Other fields of employment are under provincial jurisdiction.

Watch Ignafieff open the debate on pay equity at the Communes:

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