Canada Post spent over $21 million in legal fees fighting against correcting a wage gap between male and female employees in a pay equity case that dated back to the early 1980s, the Star has learned.
The amount has finally been revealed after the Crown corporation tried to keep it secret for six years, following an Access to Information request.
Gisèle Morneau, one of the complainants in the original pay equity case, chuckled when told about the dollar figure
“I am not surprised. But I am disappointed that this money was spent to fight equal rights,” she said, speaking in French over the phone from her Quebec City home.
“The amount is so high that I am overwhelmed.”
In the late ’70s and early ’80s, there was a marked pay gap between the salaries of mostly male letter-carriers and mail-sorters, and mostly female clerical workers like Morneau.
Her union, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, first filed a human rights complaint on behalf of 2,300 clerical workers in 1983, but Canada Post resisted and took it all the way to the Supreme Court.
In 2011, the court ruled that it had to make up half of the all the lost wages to its eligible employees.
Canada Post began sending out cheques, with interest, in August 2013. But Morneau said by that time it was too late for some of her colleagues. Several had died. All of them missed out on the opportunity to get the pay bump they wanted back at the start of their careers.
“It would have been much better for us to have this money when we were younger,” said Morneau, and probably cheaper for Canada Post. SOURCE