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Montreal, Saturday, November 4, 2000 - Finally, 4 years after the Pay Equity Act came into force, a date has been set to begin the court hearing challenging Chapter IX of the Act which allows employers to circumvent the obligation to establish a true pay equity program.

The action, initiated by the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the municipal employees of Boucherville, together with a number of other lawsuits, will be heard by the Labour Court on Monday, November 6 at 9:30 a.m., 955 Cremazie St. East, 7th Floor.

No to the Employers’ Loophole

“We are asking the Court to declare nil, invalid and inoperative Chapter IX of the Act which provides employers’ with a loophole in regard to their obligation to prepare a true pay equity program as specified in the Act.

“This Chapter clearly contravenes Section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” stated Carol Robertson, in charge of the Equality Branch at CUPE-Quebec.

By permitting the recognition of relativity exercises performed prior to the Act’s coming into force, Chapter IX discriminates against a sub-group of women. This compromises the right to equal pay for equal work since the requirements in Chapter IX are lower than those established in the general framework of the Act and do not allow the effects of systemic discrimination to be remedied.

Equality in Law Versus Equality in Fact

“The very existence of Chapter IX of the Act and the lack of procedural equity make the legislator’s true intentions suspect: “Equality in law or equality in fact?” Just as the employees under federal jurisdiction, we have no option but to turn to the courts to seek real justice in regard to wages.

“For many years, in Parliamentary Committees, we have denounced the existence of Chapter IX of the Act and urged the Government of Quebec to honour its commitments in regard to pay equity. The Government has chosen to ignore our requests; the only recourse left is the courts,” Ms. Robertson added.

The Government Turns a Deaf Ear

“It is unacceptable that, only one year before the expiry date of November 21, 2001 provided in the Act, we still have no word from the Commission on a number of companies who have taken advantage of the provisions of Chapter IX.

“… And not just small employers, we have heard nothing in regard to the universities, the Treasury Board and Crown Corporations. On numerous occasions we have asked the Pay Equity Commission to make changes. Once again, Government has turned a deaf ear. It is time that Government act on its promises. The ends justify the means! Does Government really want pay equity for all women?”

Since the hearings of the Labour Court are public, journalists are invited to attend. At the end of the day, a briefing will be held at the Court House.



Carol Robertson 384-9681, extension 254
Louis Cauchy 384-9681, extension 270