For Immediate Release
20 April, 2023
NDP MHA for Torngat Mountains Lela Evans says she was originally encouraged to hear about consultations on the regulations component of the province’s new Pay Equity and Pay Transparency Act. However, she fears that government’s failure to engage critical stakeholder and advocacy groups before the Act was written, and then passed by Liberal and PC MHAs, will be a critical flaw.
“I am not willing to give up on this important legislation. Women’s advocacy groups, unions, and women across this province fought too long and hard for it to be set up to fail. I went to the recent consultation on the regulations, prepared to listen and share my concerns but I was disappointed at the format. The process was reduced to a small group of people answering preselected narrowly-defined questions on the Act’s regulations,” Evans said today.
She says government has set the legislation up to fail in its stated goal of achieving workplace equity. The fact that consultations are only being held now at the regulations stage emphasizes government’s refusal to listen and learn from those who have the knowledge and expertise gained from years of advocacy and struggle.
“Government must recognize that they put the cart before the horse, leaving this legislation vulnerable to failure,” said Evans. “They claimed in the House of Assembly that years of work had been done on this legislation, but this Act shows no evidence of consultation with stakeholders, unions, and activist groups across the province. The Federation of Labour is calling for it to be scrapped and true consultation to begin so something better can replace it, and I support that call.”
The three NDP MHAs voted against the Bill, despite the Party’s years of advocacy on the issue, pointing to deep flaws. “The Act, as written, does not push us further ahead on pay equity,” said Evans. “It deliberately leaves out workers in the private sector, and contract and temporary workers – some of the people most vulnerable to exploitation. It is clear that government is not prepared to put in the necessary work to ensure that the pay gap is closed, to ensure that workers are protected, and that systemic issues of gender inequality are addressed.” Evans adds she was not surprised to hear that lack echoed in the consultation session yesterday.
“Unlike government, we have listened to the stakeholders voicing their concerns about the lack of consultations prior to the creation of the legislation,” said Evans. “It doesn’t matter how fancy your flooring is. If the foundation of your house isn’t solid, you are at risk of the whole thing collapsing. This is the case with Bill 3.
“Pay Equity is too important to be set up to fail. Our caucus amplifies the call from the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour to reset Bill 3, go back to the table, consult with all stakeholders, and finally get this right. The women of this province deserve that.”
A copy of the presentation MHA Evans would have delivered is attached.
For further information, contact Stephanie Curran, Media Relations Manager, NDP Caucus at 709-330-0328 (o), or email@example.com