SPEA condemns SNC-Lavalin decision to withhold pay equity data in light of persistent gender-related workplace inequities

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, April 28, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Ahead of Equal Pay Day in Canada, SNC-Lavalin announced its opposition to releasing more comprehensive workforce and pay gap disclosures requested by shareholders in its 2022 proxy statement.  In light of ongoing concerns about gender-related compensation inequities at SNC-Lavalin, the Society of Professional Engineers and Associates (SPEA) –whose members include shareholders as well as employees- urges investors to vote FOR improved workforce disclosures, including pay equity (Proposal 5) at the company’s upcoming annual meeting on May 6, 2022.

“By turning down calls for greater disclosures around workplace compensation and pay equity, the company is sending a signal that it is not prepared to be held accountable to shareholders or employees,” said Denise Coombs, staff representative for SPEA.  “SNC-Lavalin needs to be a leader on this front. Transparency is a crucial first step to addressing workplace inequities.”

In August 2021, SPEA contacted SNC-Lavalin’s Board of Directors noting that its female-dominated unit at Candu Energy lacked the same rights and benefits as the male-dominated bargaining units, including rights to secure health benefits, dental benefits, sick leave as well as a robust anti-harassment procedure.  Such benefits are important in attracting and retaining a diverse workforce, and these inequities persist.

SNC-Lavalin’s 2022 Management Information Circular shows that the company was approached by two different investor groups this year calling for action on workplace equity.

In the UK, where companies are required to publicly report measures related to pay equity, SNC-Lavalin’s three UK-based subsidiaries reported gender-related pay gaps between 18%-35%.  But all three have also reported progress in narrowing the pay gap since reporting began five years ago, suggesting comparable company-wide disclosures would be meaningful.

In its supporting statement (p.125) for a shareholder proposal that will be considered by investors at the company’s May 6th annual meeting, investor group SHARE reports rapid progress in equity-related reporting at major publicly traded companies, noting that “between September 2020 and September 2021, the number of S&P 100 companies releasing recruitment rate data by gender, race and ethnicity increased by 234 percent, companies releasing retention rate data increased by 79 percent, and companies releasing promotion rate data increased by 379 percent.”

recent proxy alert circulated by SHARE finds “The company’s disclosure, in its 2022 proxy is inadequate,” as it fails to “provide investors with decision-useful, quantitative workforce data. The company has asserted that it cannot provide more comprehensive data without putting itself at a competitive disadvantage. We do not accept this assertion. The company already provides stronger reporting for its UK operation, without any such competitive risk; many companies provide adequate reporting in the North American context, again, without any such competitive risk.”

As shareholders as well as employees, we urge investors to vote FOR proposal 5 at the company’s upcoming annual meeting on May 6.

For information on this topic, and more about SNC-Lavalin, please visit SNCInsight.com.

About SPEA

The Society of Professional Engineers and Associates (SPEA) is an independent union representing engineers, scientists, technical and administrative staff, who work for Candu Energy Inc., the nuclear division of SNC-Lavalin. Candu Energy Inc. was formerly the commercial division of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd, (AECL) and is based in Mississauga, Ontario. SPEA members perform work servicing and refurbishing CANDU nuclear reactors in Canada and abroad. Formed in 1974, SPEA is one of the oldest professional unions in Canada.

For further information contact:

Michelle Duncan, Staff Representative
Phone: 416-427-3525
Email: [email protected]

CBJ Newsmakers