What is Pay Equity?

Pay equity is also known as equal pay for work of equal value. That means if two different jobs contribute equal value to their employer's operations then the employees in those positions should receive equal pay. 

  • Pay equity is about “equal pay for work of equal value”.
  • “Equal pay for work of equal value” means that if two different jobs contribute equal value to an employer’s operations, then the employees in those jobs should receive equal pay
  • “Equal pay for work of equal value” is like comparing apples to oranges – They are different, but equally nutritious – for example:
    • Comparing the value of a truck mechanic job class (commonly held by men) to that of an account technician job class (commonly held by women).
  • Pay equity is internationally recognized as a fundamental human right.
     

What is pay equity not about?

Pay equity is not about “equal pay for equal work”.

  • “Equal pay for equal work” is like comparing apples to apples.
  • “Equal pay for equal work” compares the pay of similar jobs, where women and men are doing the same work, for example:
  • Comparing a female truck mechanic’s pay to a male truck mechanic’s pay; or,
  • Comparing a female bank teller’s pay to a male bank teller’s pay.

Why is pay equity important?

Pay equity is important because it addresses the undervaluation of women’s work, which contributes to the gender wage gap.

Jobs that are commonly held by women tend to be paid less than jobs commonly held by men – even when the work is comparable in value based on skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions.

The gender wage gap is a persistent problem: in 2020, a woman in Canada earned 0.89 cents for every dollar a man earned. That is equivalent to a $3.52 hourly wage rate gap (or 11%) between men and women.

What is the federal pay equity legislation?

The Pay Equity Act was passed by Parliament and received Royal Assent on December 13, 2018, and will come into force on August 31, 2021.

The purpose of the Act is to achieve pay equity for employees in jobs that are commonly held by women by addressing gender-based discrimination in the pay practices and systems of employers.

What is different between the federal Pay Equity Act and Section 11 of the Canadian Human Rights Act?

The federal Pay Equity Act is proactive.

Proactive pay equity legislation puts the onus on employers to assess, at set points in time, whether employees in jobs commonly held by women are earning equal pay for work of equal value in their workplace.

Section 11 of the Canadian Human Rights Act is complaint-based. This means that the onus is on individuals filing a complaint.

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