As a result of Treasury Board Order No. 2020-0603, Fiscal Year 2019/2020 was the last year in which there was pay equity between civil and criminal lawyers working in the BC Public Service. Effective April 1, 2019, both Crown and Civil lawyers received a 1.51% pay increase. This was consistent with the historical linkage to judicial compensation, but less than the 2% pay increase enjoyed by all other BC Government employees.
Effective April 1, 2020, the Legal Counsel classification received a 2% pay increase. Whereas, the new Crown Counsel classification received a 2.22% pay increase, reflecting their ongoing linkage to judicial compensation. The difference between Legal Counsel and Crown Counsel annual pay for the fiscal year 2020 is summarised in the below table.
|Level 1||Legal Counsel||Crown Counsel|
|Level 2||Legal Counsel||Crown Counsel|
|Level 3||Legal Counsel||Crown Counsel|
|Level 3B||Legal Counsel||Crown Counsel|
|Level 4||Legal Counsel||Crown Counsel|
|Manager||Legal Counsel||Crown Counsel|
Assuming this trend continues, effective April 1, 2021, the Legal Counsel classification will receive another 2% pay increase and the Crown Counsel classification will receive a 2.26% pay increase.
Considering the differential treatment over the three-year period (Fiscal years 2019/2020, 2020/2021 and 2021/2022):
- BC Public Service (2+2+2 = 6%)
- Crown Counsel (1.51+2.22+2.26 = 5.99%)
- Legal counsel (1.51+2+2 = 5.51%)
To summarize, Legal Counsel were the last BC government employees to receive a pay increase. The three-year increase we received is lower than any other BC government employees. And, we have been disentitled to any interest regardless of when our increases are provided. If the Crown Counsel Association is able to preserve their linkage to judicial compensation in their next collective agreement, then we can (un)fairly expect to fall further and further behind in our pay.
What is the message our employer is trying to convey with Treasury Board order 2020-0603? Is it that they believe we are less valuable lawyers and public servants? Or is it to remind us that, because we do not have a collective agreement, they can unilaterally change the terms and conditions of our employment with impunity. Either way, it is time to stand together as Legal Counsel, make our objection known, and negotiate a fair agreement for ourselves!
For more information about Treasury Board Order 2020-0603, visit: https://bcgla.ca/core-documents/