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Pay Equity and Equal Pay: What is the Difference?

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Disclaimer Notice : This fact sheet is for information only and is not intended to limit the functions of Review Officers or the Court of pay equity determination of matters

Definition

​Pay Equity​Equal Pay for Equal Work

Pay Equity is equal pay for work of equal value.

Equal Pay for Equal Work addresses situations in which men and women do the same work.

​The Pay Equity Act requires employers to pay female jobs at least the same as male jobs if they are of comparable value.  Pay equity compares jobs usually done by women with different jobs usually done by men. Female jobs are mostly or traditionally done by women such as librarian, childcare worker or secretary. Male jobs are mostly or traditionally done by men, such as truck driver, firefighter, or shipping clerk.

​The Equal Pay provisions of the Employment Standards Act require that men and women receive equal pay when doing the same job or substantially the same job such as two cooks or two machine operators on the same line.
The value of jobs is based on the levels of skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions involved in doing the work.​Substantially the same work means the same kind of work that involves about the same levels of skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions. The duties do not have to be exactly the same to be substantially the same.

Key Differences

​Pay Equity​Equal Pay for Equal Work

Pay equity compares the value and pay of different jobs, such as nurse and electrician.

Equal pay compares the pay of similar jobs.

​Only people (both men and women) in jobs done traditionally by women can complain that their work is undervalued.​Either men or women can complain. If a male incumbent is paid less than a female incumbent in the same job, he can file a complaint. As well, a woman can complain if she is paid less than a man in the same job.

Clarifying Questions

​​Pay Equity​Equal Pay for Equal Work

If you answer "yes" to ​the following questions you may have a pay equity complaint.

  • Are you in a ​job that is typically or traditionally female such as secretary, nurse, payroll clerk?
  • Are you comparing your job to different jobs, jobs that are mostly or traditionally done by men, within the same employer?

Call the Pay Equity Commission Toll-Free
at 1-800-387-8813 or 416-314-1896
TTY: 416-212-3991 or TTY: 1-855-253-8333

If you answer "yes" to the following questions you may have an equal pay for equal work complaint.

  • Are you comparing your work and pay to someone doing your own or a very similar job?
  • Are you comparing your work and pay to a person of the opposite gender?

Call the Employment Standards Branch at
1-800-531-5551 or 416-326-7160 or visit their site at http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/es/pubs/index.php  ​​​