Canadian HR Reporter

November 14, 2016

Canadian HR Reporter is the national journal of human resource management. It features the latest workplace news, HR best practices, employment law commentary and tools and tips for employers to get the most out of their workforce.

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CANADIAN HR REPORTER November 14, 2016 NEWS 3 Pay equity to be legislated by 2018 Federally regulated workplaces affected – but experts say move is not soon enough BY MARCEL VANDER WIER THE federal government's deci- sion to legislate pay equity by 2018 is a major step forward in terms of workplace fairness, say experts — though some wish it could be implemented immediately. Reform of the current com- plaint-based system is expected to require employers to regularly re- view their compensation systems, as well as identify and address any gender-based disparities. All types of federally regulated work- places would be affected — a total of 10,800 employers and 874,000 workers. "Having a gender wage gap in Canada in 2016 is unacceptable," said Status of Women Minister Patty Hajdu. "Our government believes strongly in the principle of equal pay for work of equal value and the fair treatment of all workers in the workplace, and we are committed to taking actions to help close the gender wage cap, support the economic advance- ment of women, and reduce in- come inequality." Women earn just 87 cents to every dollar earned by men in the federal private sector and Crown corporations, according to Statis- tics Canada. Playing catch-up But the federal government is ac- tually behind the curve, accord- ing to Parbudyal Singh, human resources management professor at York University in Toronto. "Efforts were made back in 2004 to get this thing going, but with a change of government, nothing happened." e roots of this legislation date all the way back to Judge Rosalie Abella's Royal Commission on Equality in Employment in 1984, said Toronto lawyer Jan Borowy with the firm Cavalluzzo. While the federal government did implement guidelines under the Canadian Human Rights Act in 1986, it only provided guidance for a complaint-based system, she said. en, in 2004, it completed further analysis on pay equity, assembling a task force that pub- lished a 571-page report. "What has changed since 1984?" said Borowy. "Unfortu- nately, this government didn't lis- ten to its own Royal Commission, put it on the back shelf and just have allowed women to linger." In that light, the federal govern- ment's timeline to implement the long-awaited proactive legislation is regrettable. "We don't understand why this government needs to wait until 2018," she said. "It needed to be done years ago and there's no rea- son for the delay now." e federal government's pro- active legislation should be imple- mented fairly easily, said Singh. Currently, Ontario and Quebec both have regulations in place. "I actually don't think we need two years of consulting with em- ployers and groups on this," he said. e fundamental issue is that it's law now, said Borowy. "Employers are required to en- sure equal pay for work of equal value. is is a fundamental hu- man right that employers are ignoring." Companies already face a legal obligation in terms of equal wag- es, she said. "Every employer should, frank- ly, be reviewing their compensa- tion practices for gender equality," said Borowy. "If they're not doing that, and there is a differential treatment, then they can face serious, sig- nificant legal ramifications… It's very important for an employer to take their own initiatives and keep reviewing their compensa- tion practices on a regular ba- sis to make sure that a wage gap and differential treatment is not emerging." Undervaluation of women Historically, women's compensa- tion has been lower due to the ef- fects of gender stereotyping and conscious or unconscious bias and discrimination, according to a 2015 report issued by Ontario's Gender Wage Gap Strategy Steer- ing Committee. Employers questioned women's commitment levels due to soci- etal pressures that viewed them as more likely to miss work due to family obligations or pregnancy. "One of the consequences of stereotyping is the undervaluation of women's work," said Emanuela Heyninck, Ontario's pay equity commissioner, who is "extremely pleased" with the federal govern- ment's efforts to end this type of discrimination. "e gender wage gap and the undervaluation of work have been recognized as a significant PUSH > pg. 12 "It needed to be done years ago and there's no reason for the delay now." When it comes to practicing human resources, Certified Human Resources Professional, Leader, and Executive designations: the new global standard for HR excellence and professionalism. These quality designations command respect and reflect the people-driven strategies HR professionals contribute to organizational success. The CHRP, Canada's best-known and only national HR designation, is now available exclusively from HRPA. P U T Y O U R C A R E E R I N F O C U S career in focus " A career in Human of opportunity to make HR is a fantastic career choice for students because it gives them an opportunity to work with so many parts of an organization and impact the actual business results." Heather Briant, CHRE Senior Vice President, Human Resources Cineplex Entertainment

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