Treasury Board requests multiple pay equity plans despite union opposition

The Treasury Board is seeking special permission to divide the Core Public Administration (CPA) into several pay equity plans, which may undermine the ability to achieve pay equity.

Despite written submissions opposing the move from unions representing the majority of workers in the CPA, the Treasury Board is seeking the permission of the Pay Equity Commissioner to divide workers among multiple pay equity plans.

In preliminary discussions with the Treasury Board, we explained our strong desire to move forward with a single plan. While multiple plans are allowed under the Pay Equity Act, guidance is clear that this is not the preferred or default approach. Indeed, multiple plans divide workers, making it very hard or impossible to achieve pay equity within the CPA.  

Unions, including PIPSC, have expressed serious concerns that such an approach will fail to identify and address gender-based systemic discrimination in compensation. Unlike a single, CPA-wide plan that will require the Pay Equity Committee to compare all job classes (group plus level), multiple plans means that job classes will only be compared to other job classes within the plan.

For example, the Treasury Board may wish to create a plan for white-collar workers, another for blue-collar, and another for everyone else. This approach may be administratively easier and allow for a more targeted job evaluation tool (the system to determine the value of a job). Unfortunately, because job classes are only compared to job classes within each plan, it also means pay equity is only achieved within the given plan.

Leaving out critical comparators makes achieving real pay equity nearly impossible, and may be seen as a cost-savings measure for the employer.

PIPSC and many of our colleagues from other unions representing workers within the CPA are collaborating on a joint submission to the Pay Equity Commissioner to express our concerns with this approach and our support for a single plan.  We look forward to sharing further information as it becomes available.

The federal Pay Equity Act went into effect in the autumn of 2021. It requires the creation of a Pay Equity Committee to design and implement a Pay Equity Plan to compare jobs at a given employer. Given the complexity of creating such a plan for the CPA, the Treasury Board has not yet established the committee; however preliminary work has begun.

Pay equity experts from the PIPSC classification team continue to work in collaboration with members and elected representatives to advocate for our members at these preliminary stages. We will sit on the committee once formed.