Equal Work for Unequal Pay: Canada

An Annotated Bibliography on Pay Equity and Salaries in Librarianship

 From 1998-2002



Scope and Purpose


United States



Other Works Consulted


Canadian Union of Public Employees Saskatchewan. “News release: Saskatoon Library Workers Ratify Agreement,” 2002, <http://www.cupe.sk.ca/nr-nov27-02.htm>.

This is a news release issued by CUPE Saskatchewan to announce that the library workers involved in job action over pay equity had voted to ratify a new contract and return to work.  The president of the union representing the employees was satisfied that the agreement will address the bargaining objectives because in addition to wage increases the City of Saskatoon agreed to undertake a joint study of wage disparities between library and other city workers using the pay equity concept of equal pay for work of equal value.  

Canadian Union of Public Employees Saskatchewan “Action Alert: Pay Equity Overdue for Saskatoon Public Library Employees,” 2002. <http://www.cupe.sk.ca/supportlocal2669.htm>.

This article on CUPE Saskatchewan’s website, outlines the circumstances around the rotating job action begun by the members of CUPE Local 2669 on September 25, 2002.  This action was the culmination of over a year of negotiations in which management refused to address the issue of pay equity.  The library workers believe that a comparison of their wages to male civic workers doing equal work of equal value should result in increased wages for the library workers.  This page is also linked to other related stories.

Global Briefs. Canadians Strike for Pay Equity.” Library Journal 33, no. 10 (November 2002): 33-35.

A news report about the labour dispute between 150 library workers who are members of the Saskatchewan chapter of Canadian Union of Public Employees and the library board over pay equity.  The union argued that the pay offer made by the board was not enough to address gender-based wage discrimination.  Not only did the union request higher pay but they also made an appeal for a study that would compare the skills, education and duties of library jobs to other predominantly male occupations.

Saskatchewan Library Association Pay Equity Task Force, 2002. : <http://www.lib.sk.ca/sla/payequityreport.pdf>

The Pay Equity Task Force was initiated by the Saskatchewan Library Association (SLA) to report on the issue of pay equity in a comprehensive manner.  This report makes several recommendations to SLA for initiating action to achieve pay equity in Saskatchewan.  The report includes a definition of pay equity;  outlines historical background on female wages, frames pay equity within relevant Canadian laws, and illustrates what pay equity would mean to library workers in Saskatchewan.  The recommendations that the Task Force makes include lobbying the provincial government to: enact pay equity legislation, dedicate funding to boards and municipalities for the enactment of legislation, communicate the importance of pay equity, and extend the Pay Equity Policy framework to include all library workers.  This article draws on relevant theory and legislation; however, it is not a comprehensive representation of the pay equity issue.

National Library of Canada Bulletin. “Sabine Sonneman Receives Governor General’s Award,” Bulletin 33, 2001, <http://www.nlc-bnc.ca/9/2/p2-0101-07-e.html>.

An announcement about the awarding of Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case to Sabine Sonnemann.  Sonnemann, a librarian at the National Library, initiated a series of actions that led to the 1980 “equal pay for work of equal value” settlement under the Canadian Human Rights Act.  Twenty years later, a pay equity settlement was reached, through which the federal government had to pay hundreds of current and former employees back pay.  At the ceremony, the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, stated: “the work of one librarian resulted in the largest human rights settlement in the world.”

Okuda, Sachiko. (2000). “Pay Equity: What’s it all worth.” Feliciter  46, no.6 (2000): 314-317.

Sachiko gives a brief history of the pay equity settlement of Canadian federal employees with concentration on librarians.  Sachiko calls the settlement one of the largest human rights settlements in the world.  The federal employees received a payout of $3.6 billion, which meant about $30,000 per person in back pay.  The payout is due to a 1977 Canadian Human Rights Commission Study finding that a comparable male intensive sector of Human Resources made approximately $3000 more on average than federal librarians did.

McIntosh, Gord. “Pay Equity Case Could Cost Ottawa $6b: Masse.” Canadian Press Newswire. (July 31, 1998).

A press release about the pay equity decision made by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in 1998, in favour of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, which forced the Treasury Board to pay 200,000 current and former public employees 13 years of back pay. This decision was based on fulfilling the Human Rights Act of 1978, which enshrined the principle of pay equity.  Librarians were one of the six job categories affected by this decision.