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A Guide To Interpreting Ontario's Pay Equity Act

  • Issued: August 15, 2012
  • Revised: April 17, 2013
  • Content last reviewed: October 2013
  • PDF Version pdf [ 1.87 Mb | 113 pages ] | Download Adobe Reader ]
  • Disclaimer: This Guide gives an overview of the minimum requirements of the Pay Equity Act as interpreted by the Pay Equity Office. The interpretations are drawn from our own experiences and by applying the key rulings of the Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal and the courts and is current to the date of publication. This Guide is subject to amendments from time to time. Please refer to the AMENDMENTS page for updates.

Table of Contents

From the Commissioner

  1. About This Publication
  2. Overview
    • What is Pay Equity?
    • Why does Ontario Need Pay Equity?
    • What is The Ontario Pay Equity Act?
    • What is The Pay Equity Commission?
    • What is Pay Equity About?
    • What is Pay Equity Not About?
    • What is The Structure Of The Pay Equity Act?
  3. Guiding Principles for Interpreting the Act
  4. Summary of Requirement
    • Which Employers must comply with the Pay Equity Act?
    • Part I–Reguirement for ALL Employers to Achieve Pay Equity
    • Part I–Requirement for ALL Employers to Maintain Pay Equity
    • Part II–Specific Requirements only Applicable for Employers Subject to Part II of the Act
    • Counting Employees to Determine Applicable Requirements
  5. What are the Compliance Deadlines?
    • What are the Deadlines for Meeting the Act's Requirements?
    • What if an Employer did not Implement or Achieve Pay Equity by the Deadline?
    • When are Retroactive Payments Due?
    • What are Retroactivity Dates for Overdue Pay Equity Adjustments?
  6. Definitions
    • Who is in the Public Sector? Who is in the Private Sector?
    • Who is an Employer?
    • Who is an Employee?
  7. Part I – Requirements for Achieving Pay Equity
    • Defining the Establishment
    • Determining Job Classes
    • Determining the Gender Predominance of Job Classes
    • Gender Bias and the Need for Gender Neutrality
    • Collecting Job Information
    • Deciding on a Mechanism or Tool to Determine the Value of Job Classes
    • Determining the Value of Job Classes
    • Determining the Job Rate
    • Permissable Wage Differences
    • Methods of Comparison
    • Job-to-Job Comparison Method
    • Proportional Value Comparison Method
  8. Part I – Requirement to Maintain Pay Equity
    • What does it mean to "Maintain Pay Equity"?
    • How is Pay Equity Maintained when there are Changes to Job Classes?
    • If more Men are hired in a Female Job Class, does it become a Male Job Class?
    • If a male job class is not currently filled can it still be used as a comparator?
    • How do employers handle changes in wages after pay equity is achieved?
    • How do employers deal with new female job classes?
    • Are employers and unions required to negotiate a maintenance agreement?
    • Is it neccessary for Part II employers to amend and re-post a pay equity plan for maintenance?
  9. Part II – Requirements for Implementing Pay Equity for Employers/Unions
    • Requirement to use job-to-job before proportional value method
    • Requirement to notify the Commission if pay equity cannot be achieved
    • Requirement to use a Gender Neutral Comparison System
    • Pay Equity Plans
    • What is a "deemed approved" pay equity plan?
    • What is the significance of a "deemed approved" pay equity plan?
    • Is it possible to make a complaint about a deemed approved plan?
    • When can a "deemed approved plan" be amended or a new plan developed?
    • Changed Circumstances
    • Sale of Business
    • Pay Equity Adjustments
  10. Pay Equity in Unionized Workplaces
  11. Proxy Comparison Method
    • Brief History
    • What is the impact of the repeal and re-instatement of proxy on pay equity adjustments?
    • Which organizations can use the proxy method?
    • How does the proxy method work?
    • When must proxy pay equity be implemented and achieved by?
    • Implementing and Achieving Pay Equity Using the Proxy Method
  12. Pay Equity Commission
    • About The Pay Equity Commission
    • About The Pay Equity Office
    • About THe Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal
  13. Enforcement and Complaints
    • What is the timeframe for making a complaint?
    • Who can make a complaint?
    • Can an employee represented by a union make a pay equity complaint?
    • How does the Act protect employees who make pay equity complaints?
    • What are reasons for filing a complaint under the Act?
    • What happens in the application process?
    • What is the role of a Review Officer?
    • What are the possible outcomes of investigations?
    • What happens when an employer or union complain about changed circumstances?
    • What happens when the complaint is that pay equity is not being maintained?
    • What happens when the complaint is about the preparation of a pay equity plan?
    • How does someone make an anonymous complaint?
    • How does someone get a hearing before the Tribunal?
    • Are there offences and fines for failing to comply with the Act?
  14. Monitoring Programs
    • Pro-active Monitoring by the Pay Equity Office
    • How do Review Officers monitor companies?
    • Will businesses be monitored even if there has been no complaint made?
    • What if the employer cannot find the company's pay equity documents?
    • Does the Pay Equity Office guarantee that an employer will not have future complaints after being monitored?
  15. Glossary



A Guide To Interpreting Ontario's Pay Equity Act
Issued by: Pay Equity Office
Ontario Pay Equity Commission
May 2012

ISBN 978-1-4435-9684-8 (HTML)
ISBN 978-1-4435-9683-1 (PRINT)
ISBN 978-1-4435-9685-5 (PDF)