The court hears arguments in case #29597, Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees v. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Newfoundland as represented by the Treasury Board and the Minister of Justice, on May 12, 2004.
In 1988, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador signed a Pay Equity Agreement with the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees. The intent was to increase compensation for female employees in the health-care sector so as to correct pay inequities that favoured men. Then, in 1991, the government deferred from 1988 to 1991 the promised pay equity program, citing an allegedly unprecedented financial crisis. The Supreme Court of Canada is being asked to determine if the delay in implementing the program violated the constitutional rights of the female employees affected, and if so, whether or not such a violation can be justified and whether or not financial concerns are a sufficient basis for justification.
Lawyer Sheila H. Greene presents arguments on behalf of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees. Lawyer Karen Schucher speaks on behalf of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, an intervener in the case. Lawyer William Holder speaks on behalf of the Canadian Association for Community Living, the Canadian Hearing Society, and the Council of Canadians with Disabilities – all interveners in the case. Lawyer Joseph J. Arvay speaks on behalf of the Hospital Employees’ Union, the British Columbia Government and Service Employees’ Union, and the Health Sciences Association – all interveners in the case.