After a long struggle on the part of federal government employees—the majority of them women—to win back wages owing to them because of what they claimed were discriminatory practices, an assessment that was confirmed by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, the federal government of Canada finally settled in this landmark legal case. It offered to compensate these employees for $3.6-billion, but other sources say the amount could be as much as $4- or $5-billion. Going back 15 years, this is a historic case of what some say is deliberate discrimination and what others say is systemic bias. Still others dispute the judgment and call this legal event the erroneous outcome of a badly drafted legislation designed to assure pay equity. As a case study of the complex issues of equity in the labour force, this News in Review story is also a point of departure for examining Canadian social history in terms of equity and gender bias.
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