Union urges Ford government to accept decision and give women working in long-term care the money they are owed
Richmond Hill, Ontario — One day after International Women’s Day, and one year into the COVID-19 pandemic where the women in healthcare have shown significant strength and sacrifice, the Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled in favor of SEIU Healthcare and the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) in a majority decision stating that workers in almost exclusively female workplaces, such as for-profit nursing homes, are permitted to have continued access to the proxy method of comparison for maintaining their pay equity rights.
“More than ever, healthcare workers are demanding “respect us, protect us, and pay us,” and today’s decision is a significant victory for women working in our long-term care sector,” said SEIU Healthcare President Sharleen Stewart. “While we are extremely disappointed that these nursing homes and the Ontario government dragged this out for over 15 years, we are incredibly pleased that The Court has ruled in favour of the working women of Ontario and brought a long-overdue ending to this battle.”
On April 30, 2019, Ontario’s Divisional Court awarded a decision that granted personal support workers, nurses and other healthcare workers in private nursing homes without access to male comparators in their workplaces the right to maintain pay equity with continuing reference to a male comparator. Disgustingly, just a few weeks later on May 16, 2019, the Ontario government and affected nursing homes filed an appeal on this ruling, which was heard in 2020. Today’s ruling by the Ontario Court of Appeal ends a provincial battle that began in 1995.
“During this pandemic, we’ve heard Premier Ford say over and over that these working women deserve to be paid, so we are urging his government to stick to their word and accept today’s decision,” said Stewart. “It’s time to pay these women the money they are owed. You’ve called them essential heroes, now it’s time to back those words up.”
SEIU Healthcare represents more than 60,000 healthcare and community service workers across Ontario. The union’s members work in hospitals, homecare, nursing and retirement homes, and community services throughout the province. www.seiuhealthcare.ca