ACFO-ACAF and the employer have reached an agreement for a joint study that will resolve our pay equity complaint in 24 months.

“This agreement wouldn’t be possible without the Trudeau government’s commitment to gender equality and pay equity,” said Dany Richard, ACFO-ACAF President. “Through this agreement, our members avoid time-consuming and costly litigation. Both sides will save a great deal of time and money and, more importantly, we can work collaboratively using an evidence-based process with the support of a neutral third party.”

ACFO-ACAF’s current pay equity complaint was filed in 2016 after a preliminary study identified a wage gap between the public service FI Group and male-predominant groups doing work of comparable value to the employer.

This kicked off a long and costly process by which our complaint would be adjudicated before the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board. However, in the meantime, we approached the employer to carry out a joint study, overseen by a third party, to resolve the complaint in a proactive and collaborative way. The employer agreed and we have worked since to finalize the process.

“With the passage of new, proactive pay equity legislation, this government’s commitment to pay equity going forward was clear,” said Richard. “But it didn’t address the historic discrimination against the FI Community. This deal means we can finally define the actual pay gap and close it more quickly, if necessary, than if we had to fight it out at the labour board.”

With the agreement signed, ACFO-ACAF and the employer can begin the work with the jointly-selected experts to choose the right comparator groups and determine if there is, indeed, a gender-based pay gap. We expect this work to take up to two years – a much shorter timeline that the decades-long process of having the complaint heard before the labour board. This approach also follows with the spirit of proactivity and collaboration enshrined in the new Pay Equity Act, even though ACFO-ACAF’s complaint was filed under a previous legislative regime and thus would not fall under this Act.

“I’d like to personally thank Treasury Board President Joyce Murray and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose enthusiastic support for this approach made this agreement possible,” added Richard. “Along with our recently-ratified collective agreement and Phoenix damages settlement, we have resolved three massive outstanding issues for our community. This represents an unprecedented display of good faith and respect for our hard-working professionals from this government.”