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CAUT Bulletin Archives

April 2001

CAUT Initiates Local Pay Equity Survey

Despite the existence of pay equity legislation, no provincial commission responsible for enforcing pay equity regimes has comprehensively collected or retained information on what universities have done to comply, CAUT has learned.

"Where there is no provincial legislation, even less is known, despite the existence of collective agreement clauses committing the parties to 'pay equity' principles or 'non-discrimination'," said CAUT executive director James Turk.

To determine what universities have done in the past 20 years about pay equity, CAUT is surveying its local faculty associations.

"The survey is a critical first step to accumulating current information on university salary equity practices," Turk added.

Professor Judy Fudge of York University, who has written extensively on the limitations of pay equity regimes, agrees that one of the biggest challenges to assessing the efficacy in the university context "is knowing exactly what has and has not been done and where continuing inequity exists."

In November 2000 the federal Justice Minister announced creation of an independent task force to review the pay equity provision of the Canadian Human Rights Act. And, with the tabling of pay equity legislation in British Columbia in March, Turk says it's time to collect relevant information on this vital subject. "We need to assess the impact of existing legislation on university faculty compensation structures," he said.

"We're also concerned that the Ontario government's move to amalgamate 10 different agencies and tribunals responsible for most workplace related disputes including the Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal, the Ontario Human Rights Board of Inquiry and the Ontario Labour Relations Board into a new unified tribunal will have an enormous impact on dispute resolution and adjudication services," Turk added.

"We're not convinced the proposed tribunal would be structured to ensure competency, expertise and impartiality are maintained, especially on complex issues such as pay equity complaints."

CAUT has asked that associations respond to the survey by Apr. 22.

Information on the proposed new tribunal for Ontario's workplaces can be viewed at