Women launch complaint against Harper government for destroying the right to pay equity


    NEW YORK, NY, March 6 /CNW Telbec/ - Representatives of women's groups
and labour unions gathered at the United Nations yesterday, to announce that
they will be filing a complaint against the Harper government with the UN
Commission on the Status of Women. The complaint condemns the Canadian
government for rushing controversial pay equity legislation through
Parliament, which will make it extremely difficult for women in the federal
public sector to demand equal pay for work of equal value.
    The "notice of communication" to the UN was signed by representatives of
more than 40 organizations, including the Public Service Alliance of Canada,
the Syndicat de la fonction publique du Québec, the Canadian Federation of
Nurses Unions and the Feminist Alliance for International Action.
    In addition to criticizing the pay equity "poison pill" in the Budget
Implementation Act, it also takes aim at the 2009 federal budget for failing
to fix the employment insurance system during a time of economic crisis.
    As it stands, only one third of unemployed women in Canada can access EI
and even when they do, their EI benefits are often too low to both pay the
rent and feed the kids.
    "We just heard Helena Guergis speak to the UN Committee of the Status of
Women, touting the Harper government's supposed record on women's rights. It's
appalling that she would set foot on an international stage to make claims
about women's equality while the government is in the midst of implementing
policies that are trampling women's equality rights at home," said Patty
Ducharme, PSAC's National Executive Vice President.
    The signatories to the "notice of communication" will work together in
the coming weeks to formalize their complaint and submit it to the United
Nations.
    "We will not sit back and watch as our government retreats from its
international obligations and undermines women's equality rights," said Robyn
Benson, Regional Executive Vice-President, responsible for women's issues at
PSAC.

    Visit psac-afpc.com to read the full text of the complaint, including a
full list of signatories.



For further information: Andrée Côté, Women's and Human Rights Officer,
PSAC, (613) 290-5899 (cell)