It is 2016; women and men who do virtually the same work should earn the same wages and enjoy the same benefits. For thousands of women employed by Canada Post, the wage gap is a real and pressing concern.
The Canadian Human Rights Act enshrines pay equity as a human right. In 2004, the Supreme Court of Canada recognized pay equity as being constitutionally protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Canada has ratified a number of international conventions that commit its government to pay equity.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called himself a feminist and a strong advocate for pay equity, notably introducing a gender-balanced cabinet "because it's 2015". He has called on the public to "challenge those around you, your peers, your friends" to support equality. "True courage," he added, "is fighting for that raise, because you know you deserve pay equal—or greater—to that of your male colleagues."
Employers, including Canada Post, have a legal as well as a moral obligation to ensure that their employees receive equal pay for work of equal value.
Today, Canada Post–a crown corporation–is ignoring the law and refusing to pay Rural and Suburban Mail Carriers (RSMCs, 70% women) and Letter Carriers (68% men) equally.
Over 200 prominent women primarily from English-speaking Canada, including Sarah Polley, Naomi Klein, Maude Barlow, Judy Rebick, Libby Davies, Brigette DePape, Sophie Harkat, Joanna Kerr, Monia Mazigh, Antonia Zerbisias, Harsha Walia, Irene Lanzinger, Nora Loreto, and Christine Jones, have signed an open letter to Prime Minister Trudeau, calling on him to take action for pay equity for postal workers.
There are over 8,000 RSMCs at Canada Post, who deliver letters and parcels in every province and territory. 70% of these workers are women. The work of RSMCs is virtually identical to the work of Letter Carriers, 68% of whom are men. However, Letter Carriers earn 28% more than RSMCs and have vastly superior benefits.
In many postal depots, Letter Carriers and RSMCs work side by side. They do the same work: processing and delivering letters and parcels. But they have different uniforms and RSMCs use their own vehicles in their work. The Canadian Union of Postal Workers represents Letter Carriers and RSMCs. Both groups are currently in bargaining and one of the main issues is equality for the RSMCs.
Canada Post is refusing to budge on this important issue.
Prime Minister Trudeau has self-identified as a feminist, with a belief in gender equality. He has also indicated that his government wants to act on pay equity. It is time to act upon these statements and direct Canada Post – a federal Crown Corporation – to implement the spirit and principles of pay equity.
A recent parliamentary report of the Special Committee on Pay Equity underscores this, stating: “The Committee recognizes that pay equity is a legislated human right and the Committee believes that the Government of Canada has the obligation to ensure that within its jurisdiction, pay equity is a human right that is promoted, implemented and enforced. The Committee believes it is time for the federal government to act.”
We are urging Prime Minister Trudeau to address the injustice at Canada Post by instructing the corporation to bargain in keeping with the spirit and principles of pay equity. Because it's 2016.
Please sign and share this petition, using the hashtag #StampOutSexism
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:
We are writing to ask you for your help to end wage discrimination for a large group of women workers at Canada Post. Please give Canada Post a clear mandate: that Rural and Suburban Mail Carriers (RSMCs) achieve pay equity with Letter Carriers.