Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

April 04, 2014 12:00 ET

Developmental service workers demand government stand up for equal treatment by enforcing pay equity award; Insufficient funding no excuse in light of leaked budget plans, workers say

GUELPH, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - April 4, 2014) - Following the leaked announcement of major new planned funding for developmental services in Ontario, workers in the sector are demanding that government enforce a pay equity order that corrects years of systemic gender-based wage discrimination.

"In light of new information that the government has earmarked $730 million for developmental services, there is no excuse for further delay of full implementation of the March 5 pay equity order," said Joanne Smithers, a representative on the Developmental Service Workers Coordinating Committee of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

"We are calling on the Hon. Ted McMeekin, Minister of Community and Social Services, to confirm publicly to Community Living Guelph Wellington that funding for pay equity is available and that the agency must comply with the order."

On March 5, Community Living Guelph Wellington, which is funded by the Ministry of Community and Social Services, received an order from the commission's Review Services that requires it to pay both union and non-union employees wage adjustments and back pay covering the years 2010 to 2013.

However, in an open letter to employees, the agency's director wrote, "An order does not change the fact that we can't make the Pay Equity adjustments within existing funding. [The ministry says] we can't reduce services to make these adjustments. It is also our opinion that we can't reduce staffing complement to make these adjustments - even if we agreed with that option."

CUPE members affected by the decision are those who provide direct support and assistance to people with developmental disabilities.

Developmental services workers held a "Picket for Pay Equity" on Friday, April 4, at the constituency office of Guelph MPP Liz Sandals. They are seeking the government's immediate action to ensure the order by the Pay Equity Commission is implemented.

"Revelations from this week's leaked budget announcement make it clear there is ample funding to honour legal, legislated pay equity obligations for developmental service workers," said Smithers.

"Therefore, we are demanding that the government order the agency to pay the award immediately to the developmental services workers, past and present, whose work has been undervalued and underpaid for the past four years."

The average annual earnings of female workers in Ontario is 31% less than the average annual earnings of male workers. More information is available at www.equalpaycoalition.org.

Contact Information

  • Joanne Smithers
    President, CUPE Local 4392
    519-820-5945

    Jill Smyth
    CUPE National Representative
    519 502 6806

    Mary Unan
    CUPE Communications
    905 739 3999 ext 240 or 416 206 5609