Peel Region ordered to hand over gender incumbency data to CUPE in pay equity dispute

Photo: Eugen Tamas/Canva

The Regional Municipality of Peel in Ontario has been directed to hand over gender incumbency data to one of its unions in relation to pay equity grievances.

The issue at hand dealt primarily with pay equity and whether employers are obligated to share data on gender representation within job classifications.

During a mediation on Sept. 26, 2022, both parties had agreed that the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 966 would receive documentation that ensured the employer was maintaining pay equity across all bargaining units, following the guidelines of the Pay Equity Act.

The employer was obligated to create a summary document indicating its adherence to the Act since 2012, detailing job classifications, gender dominance, evaluation outcomes, and other pertinent details.

While the Employer prepared a summary covering 2012-2021, they hesitated to provide gender incumbency data, sparking the need for the recent hearing. The Union’s demand was rooted in the belief that this data was crucial for assessing any changes in gender dominance and ensuring continued pay equity.

The Employer contended that there was no need to revisit gender dominance or disclose gender incumbency data for maintaining pay equity. They emphasized the absence of a Tribunal decision supporting the need for such disclosure. Arguing against the Union’s interpretation, the Employer stated it could lead to unnecessary revisions and efforts.

However, the Union highlighted that while the Act does not explicitly mandate the disclosure of pay equity details to a union, there’s a significant body of Tribunal jurisprudence which suggests employers are obligated to share pay equity information. The Union asserted that it is entitled to employer disclosures to fulfill its obligations under the Act.

The arbitrator, James Hayes, ruled in favor of the Union. He emphasized that the Act positions unions as critical players with distinct rights and obligations, not merely as bystanders. As such, they have a right to the information necessary for ensuring pay equity.

Hayes directed the Employer to disclose gender incumbency data for all job classifications listed in their Pay Equity Maintenance Summary between 2012 and 2021.

For more information, see Regional Municipality of Peel v Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 966, 2023 CanLII 91858 (ON LA)

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