The Québec Court of Appeal has upheld the decision of
arbitrator René Beaupré
affecting how Québec employers can treat pay
Historically, different types of work have tended to draw
predominantly male or female workers. Women often earn less. Pay
equity laws typically command wage increases in traditionally
lower-paid "female" jobs to reduce inequity between the
In the case of Héma-Québec v. Syndicat des
travailleuses et travailleurs de Héma-Québec,
D.T.E. 2011T-99 the employer granted pay equity adjustments to a
female-dominated occupational group. These pay equity adjustments
were to be paid out over four years. However, the employer would
deduct from these pay equity adjustments the general pay increases
the female group was set to receive under their collective
agreement. The employer stated that he would continue to offset the
two until the gap between the female-dominated occupational group
and male-dominated occupational group was eliminated, thus the
employer was fulfilling the principle of maintaining pay equity
provided by section 40 of the Pay Equity Act (PEA).
The employer justified this offsetting approach to the
arbitrator by claiming that the general pay increases granted under
the collective agreement were advances on the pay equity
The arbitrator stated that the pay equity adjustments cannot be
unilaterally modified, cancelled or revoked by the employer.
Furthermore, section 74 of the PEA states that the equity
adjustments are a part of the collective agreement and bind the
parties. Therefore, the employer may not : ""[...] offset
the general pay increases negotiated in the collective agreement
with the adjustments granted in the pay equity
program"1or claim that the general pay increase
granted in the collective agreement is an advance on the adjustment
payments due under the PEA.
To read the original article in French by Audrey Pinard from our
1 Héma-Québecc. Syndicat des travailleuses et travailleurs de
Héma-Québec,D.T.E. 2011T-99, AZ-50701384.
(available in French only)
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