This January the world watched as millions of women united for the Women’s March, a massive global demonstration in support of women’s rights as human rights. It was an inspiring start to a new year and a welcome check to what has felt like a growing global political climate of intolerance, injustice and fear.
Here in Canada we have much to be grateful for, but there is still a great deal of work to be done. Today, on International Women’s Day, it is worth reflecting on what that will mean for us.
One of ACFO’s biggest priorities has always been and will continue to be pay equity. Our current efforts have been focused on our own pay equity case before the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board, as well as on our government advocacy work. Last spring representatives from ACFO appeared at the Special Committee for Pay Equity where, along with other labour organizations, we advocated for a proactive pay equity model, the repeal of the regressive Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act of 2009 and the separation of pay equity from the collective bargaining process. We were pleased to see these recommendations ultimately included in the committee’s final report.
The government responded to the committee report, affirming that “equal pay for work of equal value is a human right” and committing to introducing pay equity legislation by the end of 2018. While the tenor of the government’s response was encouraging, the timeline was deeply disappointing. Two years is simply too long to wait for equity. It’s too long to wait for a human right.
ACFO will continue to put pressure on the government in the coming months to stand by their commitment to pay equity and to expedite their timeline for passing this essential legislation. We will continue to fight for the FI Community through our own pay equity case and by advocating for equity in the workplace.
We believe that it is possible to be grateful for the rights and freedoms women in Canada currently enjoy, while continuing to advocate for true equity. We can and we must keep pushing forward. If the Women’s March has shown anything, it is that there is not only strength in numbers, but a willingness and eagerness to use that strength.