NWT pay-equity law leaves many unprotected

North.CBC, 4 June 2003, 08:22 AM MDT

YELLOWKNIFE—The N.W.T. government has missed a chance to even the playing field for all workers when it comes to pay equity, according to the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

MLA David Krutko is worried that many workers will be left without pay-equity protection. The territorial government will introduce pay-equity amendments to the Public Service Act during the current session of the legislative assembly.

But the amendments won't apply to people on contract with the government, nor those who work for private business. That means they won't be able to insist on equal pay for work of equal value.

That doesn't sit well with Debbie McLaughlin of the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

The regular worker who's not covered by the Canadian Human Rights Act or the Public Service Act is going to be getting an inadequate form of pay equity legislation, she says.

The limited scope of the new law also worries Mackenzie Delta MLA David Krutko.

He's concerned that pay equity won't apply to mental health workers, economic-development officers and others who work on contract in the communities.

These people all provide a public services for the government, but because they're under a different contractual arrangement they've been excluded from being recognized under this new legislation, he says.

Joe Handley, the minister responsible for the public service, says expanding the Public Service Act to include everyone who works for the government is a much bigger job than the amendments now being considered.

The government is anxious to pass the amendments because they clear the final obstacle to implementing new human rights legislation.