The ACFO Roundup is a new feature that will appear periodically on the site. Many of the issues facing the FI Community are also affecting others; this feature will allow us to highlight what other people and stakeholders are saying. Articles will be linked to in the original language only; efforts will be made to ensure a balance of coverage is provided in both languages.

As most of you know, ACFO has been exploring the issue of pay equity for more than a year. While we are still gathering information as to the extent of gender-based wage inequality in the FI Community, we are keenly aware that there is movement on the issue.

Gloria Galloway of the Globe and Mail provides an excellent recap of the issue on the political landscape, where measures aimed at taking away a public servant’s right to pursue pay equity claims through the courts are being opposed in Question Period but will pass with the federal budget.

La Presse columnist Paul Gadboury juxtaposes the government’s regressive measures with proactive steps taken by U.S. President Barak Obama, who recently signed an Executive Order extending the period during which an employee can launch a pay equity complaint. The order was one of several signed by President Obama as part of his effort to increase the role of organized labour in the economic recovery.

In the President’s own words, “I do not view the labour movement as part of the problem. To me, it’s part of the solution.” (More information is available in English from the Associated Press and in French from Le Matin).

Public servants must have the right to pay equity, of that there can be no doubt. The proof of the government’s commitment to wage equality will be found in whatever system they bring in to address legitimate claims.

The public service as a whole faces a massive demographic crunch as boomers retire, taking institutional knowledge and experience with them. The FI Community is at even more at risk because of increased demand for highly-competent financial professionals. We are concerned that regressive measures that hurt a public servant’s right to pursue a pay equity claim could damage the reputation of the public service and hamper its ability to recruit and retain the best and brightest Canadians.