EDMONTON – The Pay and Social Equity Standing Committee of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees is launching a campaign to petition the Legislature of Alberta to get with the times and make pay equity the law.
“Alberta is one of only four provinces that have failed to pass legislation ensuring that people receive equal pay for performing work of equal value,” says Sandra Azocar, AUPE Vice President and Chairperson of the union’s Pay and Social Equity Standing Committee.
Saskatchewan, Newfoundland, and British Columbia have not enacted pay equity laws but have developed policy frameworks for negotiating pay equity with some specific public sector employees. Only Alberta has neither passed pay equity legislation nor developed a pay equity negotiation framework, Azocar notes.
Data from Statistics Canada shows that Alberta is one of the worst provinces when it comes to the gender wage gap and Azocar notes that this disproportionately affects Indigenous women, women of colour and newcomers to Canada who increasingly make up a significant portion of AUPE’s membership.
While Azocar, who also chairs the union’s Women’s Committee, hopes the issue of pay equity lands on the public’s radar in the upcoming provincial election, she insists this is a non-partisan issue that should be a top priority for everyone seeking office, and the electors who are going to put them there. “This is a matter of basic human rights, regardless of which party is successful in this upcoming election” says Azocar. “It is unconscionable that in 2023 we are still fighting for the most basic of equity and equality protections. We hope this campaign brings that struggle to light throughout this election period and beyond. It’s well past time Alberta got with the program.”