The City of Montreal intends to appeal a pay equity ruling, even though various other tribunals have ruled in favour of the union – first the Tribunal administratif du travail, TAT, and then the Superior Court – where, once again, the city lost its case and announced its intent to launch an appeal.
“The City of Montreal is continuing its guerilla warfare before the courts even in spite of the fact it was rebuffed by the Superior Court. We’re wondering why the city is so intent on its refusal to abide by pay equity rulings,” said Jean-Pierre Lauzon, president of CUPE 301, the union representing amalgamated outside workers in Montreal.
The case deals with the initial pay equity program of members of CUPE 301 and the “restaurant student worker” job category. The latter was designated a predominantly female job category in the initial program from 2010. However, it was excluded when pay adjustments were made. Several years later, the Pay Equity Commission issued an order demanding that it be included in the initial program. But instead of complying with this requirement, the city decided instead to file a dispute to have this job category declared “neutral,” which would enable the city to avoid paying pay adjustments.
“On January 27, 2022, members of CUPE 301 won their case before the TAT. The City of Montreal contested the ruling and took it all the way up to the Superior Court in an attempt to quash it. On October 18, 2023, the Superior Court ruled on the matter and came down hard on the city,” pointed out Josée Aubé, a lawyer for CUPE.
The following excerpt (translated from French) was taken from the ruling:
A ruling written like the one in this case cannot be quashed merely because the party at whom it is directed claims not to understand it. If, as jurisprudence has shown, the city takes the decision in its entirety, considers the context thereof, bears in mind the issues in dispute in both the management minutes and in the ruling itself and it examines the evidence submitted, it cannot validly argue that it does not understand the outcome of the grievance and the reasoning of the TAT.
Once again, instead of complying with the ruling and paying out the adjustments that have been due to the employees in question for 13 long years, the city is continuing this odious behaviour and requesting permission to appeal this decision to the Court of Appeal.
“Although the mayor and her team claim to be progressive, one wonders how far she will go and how much she will spend in legal fees to avoid having to comply with the Pay Equity Act,” said Josée Aubé.