The Commission promotes gender economic equality by enforcing pay equity rights and obligations through effective case and complaint management; understanding gender wage gap through research; and promoting awareness to advance economic equality for Ontario's working women.
The Pay Equity Commission (PEC) was established by section 27 of the Pay Equity Act, 1987, S.O. 1987.c.34 (the Act) and is continued by subsection 27(1) of the Act, R.S.O. , 1990, c.P.7 as amended (the Act).
The Commission consists of two separate and independent parts: the Pay Equity Office (PEO) and the Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal (PEHT).
The Minister of Labour is accountable to the government for the PEC and is responsible for representing the PEC in Cabinet and its Committees, in the Legislative Assembly and before Committees of the Legislature. The Minister is accountable to the Legislature for the PEC's fulfillment of its mandate and compliance with government administrative policies. The Minister is also responsible for the review and approval of the PEC's Business Plan and Annual Report, and for submitting them to Management Board of Cabinet.
Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal
The Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal is responsible for adjudicating disputes that arise under the Pay Equity Act. The PEHT has exclusive jurisdiction to determine all questions of fact or law that arise in any matter before it. The decisions of the Tribunal are final and conclusive for all purposes.
Pay Equity Office
The Pay Equity Office is responsible for enforcing the Pay Equity Act. It achieves its mandate through:
- Investigating and resolving complaints through alternative dispute resolution methods, or issuing Orders for compliance;
- Referring Orders to the Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal for enforcement;
- Monitoring establishments for compliance with the provisions of the Act;
- Conducting education and outreach;
- Researching and disseminating information about pay equity and Ontario's gender wage gaps to the public and workplace parties;
- Preparing reports and recommendations to the Minister about pay equity and related matters.
An employer, current or former employees, or a bargaining agent acting on behalf of employee(s) may complain at any time that there has been a contravention of the Act or an Order issued by the Pay Equity Office or Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal.
Pay Equity Office's Organizational Structure
The Pay Equity Office consists of 25 Full Time Equivalents (FTEs) and is organized into core operational units. (link to chart)
The Commissioner is appointed by Order-in-Council by the Legislature to act as the head of the Pay Equity Office and the Chief Administrative Officer of the Commission, as required by the Pay Equity Act. Reporting to the Minister of Labour, the Commissioner is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the Pay Equity Office and, with the assistance of Legal Counsel, ensures that the Office operates within its legislative mandate and in compliance with administrative law principles.
The Director's Office provides strategic, financial and operational leadership. The Director is accountable for establishing the financial, human resources and procurement policies and practices, and ensuring the agency operates according to Ontario Public Service standards. The Director is responsible for developing and sustaining organizational capacity and ensuring the Office delivers on its program commitments set through approved strategic and operational plans. The Director is the Ethics Executive for the organization.
The Review Services Unit is responsible for the enforcement of the Act. The Unit is comprised of 14 Review Officers who are responsible for the investigation and resolution of objections to pay equity plans and complaints of contraventions. The Review Officers engage in settlement negotiations where appropriate, and may make such orders as are necessary to ensure compliance. The Unit engages in proactive monitoring of employers, providing expertise and assisting workplace parties with their pay equity processes.
Administration, Research and Outreach
This unit supports the strategic and operational planning necessary to advance gender equality in practical and measureable ways. It provides stakeholder relations and outreach services, including website management and production of statistical reports. This work informs monitoring programs, stakeholder engagement, outreach and education/awareness initiatives. It also delivers case management system services and case file administration. Its case processing services are critical to the Pay Equity Office's facilitation of transparent, relevant and efficient reporting of case statistics.
The Pay Equity Office is required to maintain its legal services as set out in the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Commissioner and the Minister of Labour. The Office has one full time lawyer on staff and makes use of external legal services when necessary.
Pay Equity Office Values
All staff at the Pay Equity Office are committed to providing high quality service delivery and excellent customer service. Staff adhere to the following values:
Fairness– We demonstrate integrity by providing equitable and impartial enforcement actions.
Accountability– We accept responsibility for our activities and disclose the results in a transparent manner.
Service Excellence– We strive to provide outstanding and responsive service.
Impact– We influence, educate, and enforce to achieve and maintain pay equity in Ontario workplaces.
Connect– We connect and advance women's compensation issues by building effective partnerships with diverse stakeholders and communities.
Pay Equity Office Policies
Customer Service Accessibility Policy PDF
PEO Accessibility Standards Policy PDF
Information Privacy and Website Security Policy PDF
PEO Twitter Policy PDF