Ontario nursing home workers have won two landmark pay equity decisions that could be worth millions of dollars for workers in female-dominated workplaces across the broader public sector!
On 30 April 2019, the Ontario Divisional Court unanimously allowed the Ontario Nurses’ Association and Service Employees International Union Local 1 application and overturned a 2016 decision by the Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal. The Court ruled that the predominantly female nursing home bargaining units must maintain pay equity using the proxy pay equity method. This means the value and pay of the female jobs in these predominantly female workplaces, which lack internal male comparators, must be compared with similar jobs at larger public sector workplaces which have access to male comparators. If proxy pay equity was used to develop the pay equity plan, pay equity must be maintained by continuing to use proxy comparators from outside the predominantly female workplace.
In a related judicial review, the Court unanimously dismissed the employers’ application. It ruled that as the original pay equity plan had not used a gender neutral comparison system (GNCS) to achieve pay equity, the Tribunal has authority to order the parties to negotiate a GNCS to determine if any pay equity maintenance adjustments are owed.
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