What to expect: Authorization requests

The Pay Equity Act and Regulations set out the rules employers must follow to develop a pay equity plan. However, there are certain situations when an employer or a pay equity committee may ask the Pay Equity Commissioner for permission to modify some of these rules. These are called Authorization requests. The Commissioner has the authority to approve these requests if they meet certain criteria.

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The Authorization Request Assessment Process

The Authorization Request Assessment Process

Request for Information and Preliminary Assessment

If you have an Authorization Request, your first contact with us will be through a Request for Information [pdf format]. We will then conduct a preliminary assessment of your request. This step is very important because we understand that timely guidance and timely interventions are key to your progress and success under the Pay Equity Act.

After we receive your Request for Information, a Pay Equity Officer will contact you to discuss the request and determine if:

  • the matter falls within the Commissioner’s mandate and jurisdiction;
  • an early intervention could resolve the situation; or
  • a formal authorization request is necessary.

When we have sufficient information to determine that a formal assessment is necessary, we will send you a submission package. Specific guidance on how to complete the Authorization Request Form and information on the procedure to follow will be provided by a Pay Equity Officer.

Assessment

Once we receive an Authorization Request, we will contact you to confirm the information. After we have the relevant information, we may offer mediation.

Mediations help resolve the matter quickly and fairly. Our trained mediators, along with the Pay Equity Officer assigned to the file, will be conducting these mediations.

If the matter is not resolved through mediation, we will begin our formal assessment of the authorization request.

We conduct assessments in a way that safeguards the integrity of the authorization process, protects your confidentiality and ensures procedural fairness. If the Pay Equity Commissioner believes an oral hearing is necessary for a determination of the matter, you will be contacted.

Expedited Assessment Process

A workplace party (i.e. the representative of any bargaining agent, a non-unionized employee or employer representative) that is affected by an Authorization request may demonstrate their agreement by completing a Statement of Support for the request. We will ensure that workplace parties have provided informed and voluntary Statements of Support.

A Request for Authorization presented in this way, with no disagreement on facts, may be assessed by the Pay Equity Commissioner in an expedited way and could result in faster resolution.

Decision of the Pay Equity Commissioner

The Pay Equity Commissioner will provide to all workplace parties, including you, with a copy of the decision and reasons. Authorization decisions are final. Parties have the option to apply to the Federal Court for judicial review.

Applications for a judicial review of the decision must be filed with the Federal Court within 30 days of the date of the decision.

Closing an Authorization Request File

The Pay equity Commissioner may close an Authorization Request if the workplace parties have resolved the matter and she has granted the Authorization Request based on terms proposed in the settlement.

The Office of the Pay Equity Commissioner will keep a copy of the decision on an Authorization Request in the employer’s pay equity file for any future review and assessment of the pay equity plan development.

The Roles of the Workplaces Parties

If you are the Requester

As the requester, you are an important source of information. You should:

  • clarify the nature and the context of the request;
  • prepare the request form and related documentation, including providing contact information of the workplace parties who may be interested in or affected by the request;
  • inform other workplace parties of the intent to file if they have not provided a Statement of Support for the request;
  • share the Authorization Request form and relevant supporting documents with other workplace parties.

As the requester, you will be required to show proof that you have provided the other workplace parties with the Authorization Request and supporting documentation before we accept the application. This may be done by adding (cc) all workplace parties on the email in which the request and supporting documentation is submitted.

If you are another Workplace Party

Workplace parties affected by a request are part of the assessment process. The Office of the Pay Equity Commissioner must inform them of the next steps in the process. As a workplace party, once you are notified of the filing of a Request for Authorization, you are required to safeguard and produce any documentation that would help the Commissioner in reaching a decision.

Workplace parties are expected to participate actively in the assessment and mediation processes and to assist in providing all relevant information as quickly as possible. During the course of an assessment and before a decision is given, you may also be provided with an opportunity to present your views.

Important Considerations for Workplace Parties and Their Advisors

Assessments conducted by the Office of the Pay Equity Commissioner will help parties in their pay equity journey. We are conducting them in a way that fosters collaboration, compromise and communication. Pay equity committees will function best if these principles are kept in mind at all times during the process. Please remember that the resolution of disputes takes time away from the development of the pay equity plan.

Assessments are focused on gathering and analyzing relevant information to allow the Pay Equity Commissioner to make a fact-based determination as to whether the Authorization request complies with the requirements of the Act. In this context, the role of any advisor would be to assist workplace parties in presenting their views and to assist in gathering all relevant information as expeditiously as possible.

Remember: The timeline to post your pay equity plan remains three years, even if you have filed an authorization request. The Pay Equity Commissioner does not have the authority to extend the three-year time limit.

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