Gender equality case nets nurses $150M
Public service nurse launched 2004 human rights complaint arguing discrimination
A group of more than 700 female nurses working in the federal public service have won a $150-million human rights settlement after arguing the government paid them less based on their gender.
The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) represented the nurses in an eight-year court case known as Walden et al vs. Canada.
The case made it to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal after Ruth Walden, a registered nurse who worked for the Canadian Pension Plan Disability Program, launched the initial complaint in 2004.
Nurses listed as clerical staff
Walden complained that nurses were listed as administrative and clerical staff while working for the federal public service, instead of being classified as health professionals.
Walden said that for decades women like her have been paid a lot less than men who do similar work.
Lawyers for the nurses and the Treasury Board came to an agreement two weeks ago and announced details on Tuesday. Under the deal, some of the more than 700 nurses involved in the decision will receive more than $200,000 and receive money for pain and suffering.
Walden was thankful to all the other nurses who joined the complaint and helped push it forward.
"I didn't do this alone. It was very much a team effort over years, over miles," said Walden.
"It's been an incredible group effort. We've all helped each other get over setbacks and move forward. I'm very proud of the way we worked together," she said.