Bill C-10 threatens equal pay for equal value

Bill C-10 has (Budget Implementation Act) been proposed by the Conservative government as a way to save the nation money. The act, “will remove the right of public sector workers to file pay equity complaints with the Canadian Human Rights Commission and transform it into an issue that can be traded away at the bargaining table,” says the Halifax Media Coop.

But what lies buried between the bill’s wording is a stark realization: this bill can diminish equal pay for equal value.

There’s already a stir in parliament.

On Monday, Feb. 9, 2009 NDP MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis told parliament:

“If there is any way for me to make a miracle happen on behalf of the women of this country, it would be to convince the Liberals not to sit back and support the budget implementation act which sets back the clock some 30 years in terms of women’s equality. I wish I could find those words because they do not realize that what is at stake here is everything that the member for Beaches—East York fought for all these years, that I fought for, that my colleague from Nanaimo—Cowichan fought for, that the member for Trinity—Spadina fought for and, of course, that my male colleagues fought for as well.

We entered political life to make a difference. One way to make that difference was to ensure that some measure of pay equity was being enforced right across this country. I cannot believe that the Liberals are going to sit here today and let this go down the tubes. I cannot believe that they are going to let the women of this country down simply because they got boxed in by some stupid response to this Conservative budget, which does not deserve to be supported for one second of the day. I cannot believe it.

I may be emotional today, but I have been involved in the women’s movement for some 30 to 40 years. When we started working in the women’s movement it was not just to be patsies for the men or for a right-wing macho party like the Conservative Party. It was to stand up for women, to stand up and be counted and make sure that the laws of the land respected and reflected the great diversity of this land and the values of this country. At the heart of that is equality and justice. At the heart of equality and justice is pay equity, and what pay equity means is equal pay for work of equal value.

How can anyone sit and ignore what is really being done to us here today? Look at the legislation. Look at what the Conservatives are doing to the concept of equal pay for work of equal value. Look at the sections under the supposed public sector equitable compensation act. The title gives the first clue. Does it say “public sector pay equity act”? No. There is a weasel word in this bill. It is a weasel word that allows the Conservatives to do what they passed at their last convention, which is to eliminate the notion of pay equity forever from this country and from women’s struggle for equality. It is absolutely reprehensible and no one in the House should allow them to get away with it.” 

Her words are strong and frightening. She’s pointing out that the Conservative government wants to eliminate equal pay for equal value forever. 

To read her whole speech click here.

Alternative media has always been good at deciphering the actions of the government and Rabble.ca published an insightful article looking at Bill C-10.

Writers Paul Durber, Rosemary Morgan, and Pat Armstrong said:

“If Bill C-10 is presented in the interest of saving money, as its name suggests, then why are women in the public sector to be burdened disproportionately with this decision? And where is the evidence to support the need for such a measure? Fundamental human rights can be abridged only when it is demonstrated on evidence that an abridgement is “reasonably justified” in a “free and democratic society.” The government has admitted that it has no evidence.”

To read the whole article click here.

If anyone had their doubts about the need for a women’s movement in Canada, here it is. The fight is not over. 

For more info on the bill visit:





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