Attorney General of Québec v. Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé et des services sociaux, et al.

(Quebec) (Civil) (By Leave)


Canadian charter (Non-criminal) - Discrimination based on sex.


Case summaries are prepared by the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada (Law Branch). Please note that summaries are not provided to the Judges of the Court. They are placed on the Court file and website for information purposes only.

Charter of rights — Right to equality — Discrimination based on sex — Pay equity — Predominantly female jobs — Amendments to Pay Equity Act challenged as infringing right to equality — Whether s. 15 of Charter requires legislature to eliminate all inequalities that Pay Equity Act tries to remedy — Whether Court of Appeal accorded sufficient deference to legislature — Whether Court of Appeal applied too onerous test in analysing actual achievement of objective under s. 1 of Charter — In alternative, whether declaration of invalidity should apply prospectively only in light of principles in Canada (Attorney General) v. Hislop, 2007 SCC 10 — An Act to amend the Pay Equity Act, SQ 2009, c. 9 — Pay Equity Act, R.S.Q., c. 12.001, ss. 76.3, 76.5 and 103.1 — Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, ss. 15 and 52 — Charter of human rights and freedoms, ss. 10, 16 and 19.

The Attorney General of Quebec is seeking leave to appeal a decision of the Quebec Court of Appeal upholding the unconstitutionality of ss. 76.3, 76.5 and 103.1 of the Pay Equity Act, R.S.Q., c. 12.001. Those sections were enacted in 2009 under the Act to amend the Pay Equity Act, SQ 2009, c. 9.

The provisions were challenged, inter alia, by unions representing employees working in predominantly female job classes. They alleged that the sections had the effect of substantially reducing the rights and benefits conferred on them by the Pay Equity Act as enacted in 1996, which, in their view, was contrary to ss. 15 and 52 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and ss. 10, 16, 19, 50.1 and 52 of the Charter of human rights and freedoms.

Under the 2009 reform, among other things, the jobs concerned were reviewed every five years to determine whether there were changes to them that justified a compensation adjustment, and there were no retroactive payments during the review process.