Federal Liberals announce pay equity commissioner on eve of election call

OTTAWA — The Liberal government has announced Canada's first-ever federal pay equity commissioner on the eve of the expected election call.

Employment Minister Patty Hajdu says Karen Jensen will provide direction for the administration and enforcement of the new Pay Equity Act.

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A government release says Jensen is an experienced litigator who has represented clients in human rights, constitutional, administrative and labour law cases for more than 25 years.

Hajdu says because the Act is not expected to come into force until 2020, Jensen will be appointed to the Canadian Human Rights Commission effective Oct. 16 to deal with the work required to establish the new pay equity division.

She says Jensen's term at the commission will end Sept. 30, 2020, or when the legislation comes into force.

The bill introduced last October aims to ensure that women and men in federally regulated workplaces, including the federal private sector, the federal public service, Parliamentary workplaces, Prime Minister's and ministers' offices, receive equal pay for work of equal value.

"Proactive pay equity isn't just the right thing to do — it's the smart thing to do, because when people are treated fairly and given an equal opportunity to succeed, we all win," Hajdu said Tuesday night in a release.

The government has said the Pay Equity Act will reduce the portion of the gender wage gap in federally regulated workplaces that is due to the undervaluation of work traditionally performed by women.

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