Listening to Beth explain which pay equity approaches work.
The WSRU October Women's History month lecture focused on pay equity.
First, Dr. Beth WIlson clearly defined pay equity - equal pay for equal value and showed the provisions in the Canadian Human's Right Code that led to the filing of complaints of discrimination. Beth described how difficult it is for an individual to navigate the cumbersome and time consuming and resource intensive process to achieve any result and how ultimately this approach is ineffective although there has been some gains when a case was brough forward on behalf of employees of the federal government. THe complaint model is also very difficult and time consuming for the Human Rights Tribunals as well and cases can take years to settle.
Next, Beth described efforts by unions to bargain for pay equity and while that has had some success in some workplaces, it's based on the "will" of each union to make it a top issue at the bargaining table. Also not all workers are unionized and not all unions are supportive.
She then talked about the route some provinces such as Ontario and Quebec have taken to pass pay equity legislation and set up Pay Equity Tribunals. This seems to work the best and has been more effective at making inroads on pay equity. Other provinces have released guidelines but made them optional and in most cases progress has been slow and only in certain segments of the workforce. Beth then gave an update on the Saskatchewan situation.
Dr. Beth Bilson talking about The Trouble with Pay Equity in Canada in 2008
The Trouble that Just Won't Go Away
One of the troubling facts about pay equity, is that despite efforts to close the "pay equity" gap after some early gains initially, the gap was reverted back to 29% to 30% from the early 1990's and persists.
About 50% of the 29% gap in wages between men and women can not be explained via differences in training, workforce participation etc and is attributed to discrimination.
A deeply troubling fact is that for newly graduated men and women, who have nearly identical credentials and time in the work force, the gap is definitely there and not budging at all.
Women may be considered "persons" thanks to the person's case and can sit in the Senate but there's still a ways to go in 2008 to close the wage gap for equal pay for work of equal value.