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Module 2: Introduction to Pay Equity


Welcome to the e-learning program of Ontario's Pay Equity Commission.

This module: Introduction To Pay Equity

In this module, you will be introduced to pay equity and the process that is required to establish it in your workplace.

You can also access the Guide to Interpreting Ontario's Pay Equity Act by clicking on the link at the bottom right. This guide will give you an overview of the minimum requirements of the Pay Equity Act and help you understand your obligations under the Act.

Pay equity is equal pay for work of equal or comparable value. It requires comparing jobs usually done by women with different jobs usually done by men.

We need pay equity because many women are not paid fairly for the work they do. In 2010, female workers in Ontario received, on average, 24% less in wages than male workers.

This difference in the pay that women and men receive is called the wage gap.

Pay equity helps reduce the wage gap.

There are many reasons for the wage gap. Women enter and leave the workforce when having and providing care to children, and other family members. This results in a loss of seniority and wages.

Also, there is a greater degree of unionization among men, resulting in higher pay rates.

A large part of the wage gap exists because female workers are most often found in the kinds of jobs that have been historically undervalued, such as clerical work and childcare.

As a result, they have been paid less than men for jobs of equal or comparable value.

The Ontario government adopted the Pay Equity Act to address the portion of the wage gap that is due to the undervaluing and underpaying of women's work.

In the pay equity process, jobs that are similar are grouped together into job classes.

Then, the gender for each of those groupings is determined: female, male or neutral.

In pay equity, neutral jobs cannot be used for comparison purposes.

Each job class is given a value based on skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions which equal the total value of the job.

Female job classes are then compared to male job classes. Where they have the same or comparable value, they must be paid the same.

In some cases, pay adjustments will have to be made to female jobs, equal to the rate of comparable male jobs.

Let's look at an example of how a male and female job class can be compared.

Jobs are valued on skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions. Comparable jobs are close in value or points.

If a female job class is paid less than its male comparator, as is the case in this example, a pay equity adjustment is required. Pay equity is achieved when this secretary's job rate is adjusted by $2.00, to $18.00 per hour, equal to the rate of her male comparator.

Pay equity is sometimes confused with equal pay for equal work.

We've seen that pay equity compares male and female job classes based on their value.

Equal pay for equal work, on the other hand, requires that men and women receive equal pay when doing the same job or substantially the same job.

For example, two technicians, a man and a woman, should be paid the same unless one is paid more because they have more seniority, or they do a better job and received a greater merit bonus.

In the next module, you will document your employer information and compliance date on a worksheet.

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