The Court of Appeal has denied permission to appeal by the City of Montreal regarding a pay equity ruling. Several tribunals have ruled in favour of the union in the past, particularly the Tribunal Administratif du Travail (TAT) and subsequently the Superior Court. Undeterred by both refusals, the City announced its intention to appeal last November.

“We’re thrilled for the rights of those affected in this case. The City was forging ahead with its guerilla warfare before the courts nonetheless, even though it had been turned down by the Superior Court,” declared
Jean-Pierre Lauzon, president of the union of amalgamated outside workers in Montreal (CUPE 301).

In a recent judgment dated January 12, 2024, Justice Marie-France Bich wrote that “we must note, as did the Superior Court judge, that the ruling is not beset with the defects alleged by the applicant. To the contrary, it is sufficiently buttressed and deals head on with the issue the applicant is grieving…”

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.  

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 continued this odious behaviour and requested permission to appeal this decision to the Court of Appeal, which was denied.

“We have serious concerns about the choices by this administration which will spend whatever it takes to avoid having to comply with the Pay Equity Act,” said Jean-Pierre Lauzon.