NAWL, in collaboration with the Canadian Labour Congress, organized a meeting of the Pay Equity Network (PEN) in Ottawa on May 2nd, 2007. Approximately 40 representatives of the labour movement and of women’s groups from Québec and the rest of Canada met in Ottawa to discuss recent developments in their respective regions.
Representatives of Bell Canada, Canada Post, Air Canada and Radio-Canada presented the current struggles in virtue of the regime established under the Canadian Human Rights Act. Their experiences spoke eloquently to the urgency for reforms to the federal pay equity regime. After discussing recent developments within Canadian law and after taking stock of the recent report on pay equity produced by the International Labour Office, participants analysed the weaknesses of the proposals put forth by the current Conservative government in Ottawa. Finally, we took advantage of this opportunity to consolidate a network of activists in favour of a federal law on pay equity and refined our strategies in favour of legislative reform in this area.
On May 3, 2007, the NAWL and other members of the Pay Equity Network formed teams to meet with the three leaders of the opposition parties. Leaders Stéphane Dion, Gilles Duceppe, and Jack Layton each expressed their support for pro-active pay equity legislation at the federal level based on the recommendations of the Working Group on Pay Equity submitted in May 2004. This meeting was followed by a press conference whereat the Status of Women Critics from the three opposition parties, namely, Nicole Demers and Johanne Deschamps (BQ), Irene Mathyssen (NDP), Maria Minna (LIB), made statements on this issue. Director of Legislation and Law Reform for NAWL, Andrée Côté represented the Pay Equity Network. The Press Release issued by the PEN is available here.
On May 30, 2007, a delegation composed of representatives of the NAWL, CIAFT, PSAC and the FTQ was supposed to meet with Minister Blackburn in order to convey our frustrations regarding the inaction of the federal government on the issue of pay equity. The Minister failed to turn up due to a last minute change… consequently, we presented our recommendations to his political assistant and we met with a civil servant from the Ministry of Labour.