OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 3, 2012) - After an arduous eight-year fight for justice, health professionals represented by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) welcome the presentation of a milestone $150 million dollar settlement in the Walden et al v. Canada case to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT).
"Today we can finally celebrate a huge victory for justice and equality," said Ruth Walden, a Registered Nurse and Medical Adjudicator working for the Canadian Pension Plan Disability Program who filed the initial complaint in 2004. "After eight years of investing time and resources in this fight for fairness while continuing to deliver an important service to the public, our members will finally be compensated."
Hundreds of Walden's colleagues joined her complaint which alleged that the federal government was discriminating on the basis of gender, because it would not recognize nurses doing medical adjudication as health professionals. Instead, these Medical Adjudicators had been classified as administrative/clerical staff. Now, more than 700 hard-working professionals will be compensated through this settlement.
"Since the federal government has stretched out the process unnecessarily, this result is a testament to the tenacity of these PIPSC members, and is a tremendous victory for gender equality in Canada," said PIPSC President Gary Corbett. "We are proud to have been able support these members who have fought so long and hard to be recognized as professionals and are finally being compensated for past discrimination."
Unfortunately, the government's own legislation, the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act (PSECA) will make it more difficult to address workplace gender discrimination issues in the future. The Professional Institute filed a Constitutional Challenge to the PSECA in 2009. The case is still before the Courts.
The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada represents some 60,000 professionals across Canada's public sector, including some 2,600 nurses.