Saturday is International Women's Day. Here is what our government has to say about this year's IWD on the Status of Women page:
Canada's theme for International Women's Day/Week 2009 is Strong Leadership. Strong Women. Strong World: Equality.
The theme reflects the government's firm belief that increasing women's participation and access to leadership roles and opportunities will help women and girls thrive, reach their full potential and fulfill their dreams, and help build a more prosperous Canada.
For Canadians, equality means women and men sharing in the responsibilities and obligations, as well as in the opportunities and rewards, of life and work. In Canada, leadership is key across society - from the private sector, to governments, to the general public - for people of all origins, generations and backgrounds to participate fully in our country's economic, social and democratic life, and ultimately, in improving the state of the world.
Now more bad news. For all those, including Bev Oda, our federal Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women* from February 6, 2006 until August 14, 2007, who think this 'fight' has been won...
The current Canadian government’s budget Bill C-10, tabled by the Conservative party and supported by the Liberal party, contains the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act which threatens women’s right to pay equity. Some people question why this bill is included in the stimulus package as it does nothing to save money, help the economy, or save jobs.
- The Budget Implementation Act, Bill C-10
- The Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act
(the part of Bill C-10 which refers to pay equity rights)
When this legislation passes:
- Some federal public sector workers will no longer have the right to file complaints for pay equity with the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
- Pay equity will be called "equitable compensation issues," and will become something negotiable with employers rather than a recognized human right. This means that a woman's right to equal pay is now an item on the bargaining table and could be traded away for additional coffee breaks.
- Employers will, for the first time, be able to use "market forces" as a factor in determining whether pay equity will be addressed. Pay equity was originally designed to correct a failure in the market that permits systemic wage discrimination against women.
- The affected federal public sector workers will have the right to file complaints with the Public Service Labour Relations Board, but unions will be fined $50,000 if they are found to be helping or encouraging women to fight a pay equity complaint.
And on and on...
This legislation has gone through second reading in Parliament, with third reading and a vote coming up in early March.
If you would like to contact your Member of Parliament to ask them to vote NO to Bill C-10, you can click on this link to send a letter to your MP: http://petition.web.net/psac/node/26
(In the letter, you need to fill out your MP's name, and type your name at the bottom of the letter. If you don't know who your MP is, his or her (still mostly his :P) name will appear near the bottom of the petition once you fill in your postal code).
Here are some links to news and information on this issue:
- Hansard: Bill C-10 - Budget Implementation Act - Conservatives Attack on Pay Equity for Women - Judy Wasylycia-Leis (Winnipeg North, NDP)
- Pay equity spin gives women the kiss-off - HarperIndex.ca
- The end of pay equity for women in the federal public service - Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC)
- PSAC says “pay equity” bill threatens women's rights
- PSAC to fight budget bill
- What you missed in that budget bill - Toronto Star
- A Blow to Women's Rights in Canada - Embassy Magazine
- Parliament to pass budget at 'lightning speed': MPs - Hill Times
- Woman about to lose pay equity rights- Sudbury Star
- PSAC pressuring Liberals to remove wage, pay equity clauses - CP
* The Status of Women portfolio was transferred to to a Minister of State (junior cabinet minister) on October 30, 2008. The first and current Minister of State (Status of Women) is Helena Guergis.