A Case of Pay Equity:
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
In another example of Pay Equity cases that continue, the lines of job comparison are blurred. On 30 April 1999, the CUPE union representing CBC production assistants lodged a complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission. This complaint dealt with the inequity of pay between mainly female production assistants, as compared with camera technicians, comprised more of males. Both of these jobs are from the same institution: CBC.
After a period of time where the Commission received no cooperation from the CBC, they referred the investigation to the Tribunal in order to properly investigate the complaint. The CBC challenged the case before the Federal Court pleading that they were deprived of their right to procedural fairness. The Federal Court in this instance agreed with the CBC, they had won their right to procedural fairness.
As a result, in 2005, the Federal Court mandated that the Commission carry out a new investigation before handing the complaint off to the Tribunal for a decision. It effectively sent the complaint back to square one in the process, after taking 6 years of process to do so. At the heart of the case, the CBC contends that the two groups of occupational comparisons are not represented by the same union, and therefore are not comparable. In this example, it clearly shows that the issue of the ‘establishment’ is the centre of the struggle for pay equity. This case is not completed, as it has yet to be resolved. In the interim, the CBC has made headway and resolved pay equity disputes with other unions and with the Canadian Media Guild representing writing and television talent. A satisfactory resolution to this case is still expected.