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Quick Facts

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Disclaimer: This workbook and attachments are for information only, and are not intended to restrict Review Officers or the Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal in their determination of matters. Refer to the Pay Equity Act for exact interpretation.

What is the Effective Date of the Pay Equity Act?

The Pay Equity Act came into effect on January 1, 1988.

Wh​​o does the Pay Equity Act Cover?

  • Ontario employees of public sector employers
  • Ontario employees of private sector employers with 10 or more employees

Who doe​s the Act Not Cover?

  • Employees of the federal government
  • Employees regulated by the federal government such as: banks, airlines, post offices, television and radio stations, telecommunications, transportation
  • Employees who work in provinces other than Ontario (these employees are covered by those provinces' legislation)
  • Private sector companies with fewer than 10 employees in Ontario as of January 1, 1988

(Note: companies which grow to more than 10 employees must achieve pay equity immediately).

Who is an Employee?

  • All full-time and part-time workers
  • Seasonal workers in the same position for the same employer
  • Students working regularly at any time during the year apart from their vacation period

Who i​s not an Employee?

Students working during their vacation periods only.

Casual workers – a position is not casual if:

  • the work is performed for at least one-third of the normal work period, or
  • the work is performed on a regular and continuous basis, although for less than one-third of a normal work period.

W​hat is a Pay Equity Plan?

A pay equity plan is a document that outlines the process undertaken by the employer and/or union to implement pay equity and provides information to employees about the required elements of pay equity. Pay equity plans are required under Part 2 of the Pay Equity Act. Part 2 applies only to all public sector Employers in existence as of July 1, 1993 and to all private sector Employers with 100+ Employees as of December 31, 1987.

What is the Role of the Bargaining A​​gent?

In a unionized workplace, the employer and the bargaining agent, at the time of implementation, negotiate:

  • the female and male job classes
  • the method used to compare job classes
  • the rate and timetable for wage adjustments
  • the pay equity plan itself

How is P​​​ay Equity different from Equal Pay for Equal Work?

Pay equity, equal pay for work of equal value, compares jobs usually done by women with different jobs usually done by men. When the value of the work is about the same, the female job classes must be paid at least as much as the male job classes.

Equal pay for equal work means that if a man and a woman are doing substantially the same work, they must receive the same pay (see the Employment Standards Act).

What Com​munication does the Pay Equity Commission Recommend?

Communication should happen at each step of your process or plan and especially after you have completed your plan. Keeping the lines of communication open will:

  • help inform your employees about pay equity and their rights,
  • increase credibility for the pay equity process with your employees,
  • allow your employees to "buy in" to the plan you are developing,
  • dispel rumours or false information, and
  • help you to create a plan that is useful to your workplace.

How do you Ac​hieve Pay Equity?

  • Identify female and male job classes. Job information is needed to identify the jobs or positions that should be grouped into job classes.
  • Assess the value of female and male job classes. Female and male job classes must be described completely and accurately. The type of demands involved in both female and male jobs must be included in the job information and evaluated.
  • Compare the value of female and male job classes and adjust the job rates of female job classes if required. Female job classes that are equal or comparable in value to male job classes must be paid at least the same job rate.

What makes ​​​a Good Committee?

A committee[1] can help minimize gender bias when comprised of diverse individuals who:

  • do different jobs,
  • come from different levels of the organization,
  • have different kinds of backgrounds,
  • have different lengths of service,
  • represent a balance of men and women, and
  • are not committed to the current job structure.

What is​​ Gender Bias?

  • Gender bias is where the work performed by one gender is understated/undervalued/underpaid. Usually, "women's work" (i.e., nursing, clerical, etc.) is understated/undervalued/underpaid in relation to "men's work" (i.e., construction, policing).
  • To assess how the value of female job classes compares to male job classes, employers must look at the total value of each job class based on skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions. This evaluation must include all jobs and capture previously overlooked aspects of work done by women.

What is Gender Neutralit​​y?

  • Gender neutrality is the absence of bias in the job evaluation/comparison process, so that it accurately captures the skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions of women's and men's jobs.
  • Gender neutrality specifically uncovers and values the work of female job classes.

Gender neutrality i​s required in:

  • The collection of job information – the job information used must be accurate, complete, up-to-date and consistent in detail for both genders.
  • The comparison system – the system used must value aspects of women's work that may have been overlooked and undervalued.
  • The use of the system to compare jobs – the value of the factors of skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions must be determined using a process free of gender bias.
  • Making the comparisons – employers must show that female jobs were compared to male jobs as required by the Pay Equity Act, and, where appropriate, make pay equity adjustments.

[1] ​​​A Pay Equity Committee is not required under the Pay Equity Act, but workplace parties have consistently indicated their value.

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