FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OTTAWA, August 30–Women from coast to coast have released an open letter calling on Prime Minister Trudeau to keep his promise to supportequal pay for work of equal value.
The 200 signatories, primarily from English-speaking Canada, include 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. The general public is being invited to add their voices by signing an accompanying petition to the Prime Minister.
The letter points out that there are over 8,000 Rural and Suburban Mail Carriers (RSMCs) at Canada Post, 70% of whom are women. The work of RSMCs is the same work as the work of Letter Carriers, 68% of whom are men. In spite of this, Letter Carriers earn 28% more than RSMCs and have vastly superior benefits.
“In order to justify the pay difference, Canada Post management has accepted that we somehow deserve less and is arguing equal pay would cost too much. This is totally unacceptable,” says Josephine Kenchenten, an RSMC worker on Vancouver Island. “It’s time to end this oppressive thinking and frankly there is no going backwards. Prime Minister Trudeau needs to stand by his policy and insist that Deepak Chopra implement pay equity. After all, it’s 2016.”
The open letter notes that pay equity is an established human right enshrined under the Canadian Human Rights Act. The act contains a legal obligation for employers, including Canada Post, to ensure that their employees receive equal pay for work of equal value. In 2004, the Supreme Court of Canada recognized pay equity as being constitutionally protected under section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Canada also has international human rights obligations, having ratified a number of international conventions that commit Canada, and its Crown Corporations such as Canada Post, to pay equity.
The open letter states, “Prime Minister Trudeau, you have identified yourself as a feminist, with a belief in gender equality. You have also indicated that your 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.”
In 2014 Prime Minister Trudeau pointed out that “Too many women face unacceptable discrimination in pay equity.” Meanwhile, Canada Post CEO Deepak Chopra and the other Harper-appointees on the board refuse to accept their legal obligation to provide pay equity for postal workers. Canada Post has been a serial offender on pay equity. The Prime Minister can help put an end to this unacceptable discrimination by supporting postal workers’ right to pay equity now.
For more information, contact
Christine Jones, 613-601-7755