Pay Equity: the clock is ticking and federal employers need to get started

September 20th, 2022 - Ottawa, Ontario - Canadian Human Rights Commission

In honour of International Equal Pay Day, Karen Jensen, Federal Pay Equity Commissioner, issues the following statement:

International Equal Pay Day is an opportunity for countries around the world to acknowledge the work that women do and their right to be paid equally. But this important day is not just a day of recognition. It is also a call to action.

Pay equity is an internationally recognized human right. Yet, work traditionally done by women is still underpaid and undervalued around the world. This, despite efforts by governments and organizations to close the gender pay gap. The work done by women with disabilities, newcomer women, racialized and Indigenous women and for those who are LGBTQ2SI+ is among the most underpaid and undervalued.

In Canada, the Pay Equity Act has been in force for just a little over one year. This law ensures equal pay for work of equal value and calls on federally regulated employers to proactively implement pay equity within their workplaces.

When I reflect upon the challenges that have presented themselves these past couple of years, it truly humbles me to think of the commitment, dedication and effort that our federally regulated stakeholder community has shown to advancing pay equity in their workplaces.

However, the deadline for employers to meet their pay equity obligations is approaching faster than many realize. It’s important that employers understand their pay equity obligations and timelines.

The steps that employers need to take to meet their pay equity obligations take time. Some employers must create pay equity committees. All employers must create job classes, determine which ones are predominantly female and which ones are predominantly male, evaluate the work done, calculate and compare compensation and post a final pay equity plan by September 3rd, 2024. The clock is ticking. Employers need to get to work.

The Pay Equity Unit of the Canadian Human Rights Commission is here to help. We can provide tools and guidance to support employers. The foundation is in place.

Achieving pay equity in Canada’s federally regulated workplaces is an extremely important goal. Closing the gender pay gap will build a stronger and more equitable workplace and it is essential to our country’s economic and social stability. When women thrive, everyone thrives.

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