Pay Equity

What is pay equity?

Pay equity, also known as equal pay for work of equal value, is a fundamental human right, which has been protected under section 11 of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) since 1977.

Its goal is to remedy gender-based discrimination in compensation resulting from the under-evaluation of work traditionally performed by women.

What is the new proactive Pay Equity legislation?

The Pay Equity Act (An Act to Establish a Proactive Pay Equity Regime within the Federal Public and Private Sectors) received Royal Assent on December 13, 2018. The Act is currently not in force (eg. not yet in effect).

This new law will require federally regulated employers with an average of 10 employees or more to ensure that workers in predominantly female jobs are provided equal pay for work of equal value in their workplace. It will apply to the federal public and private sectors, parliamentary institutions, and the Prime Minister's and Ministers' office.

The Act introduces a new proactive pay equity regime that will require employers to actively examine their compensation practices and systems and address any pay equity gaps experienced by employees who occupy positions in predominantly female jobs classes.

Persons employed in workplaces with an average of fewer than 10 employees will continue to have their right to pay equity protected under the Canada Human Rights Act (CHRA).

My right to equal pay has been violated - what can I do now?

Until the new law comes into force, the current regime established under the CHRA continues to apply. You can file a complaint here.


Message from the Commissioner

It was with great honour that I began my term on October 16, 2019, as the first Federal Pay Equity Commissioner. Pay equity, which ensures that jobs predominantly done by women are valued and compensated in the same way as jobs predominantly done by men, is one of the key measures to address the gender inequities facing women in the workplace. With the passage of the Pay Equity Act (the Act), along with other important policy initiatives, Canada joins numerous world leaders who are taking action to ensure that gender equality is realized.

As the Pay Equity Commissioner, I am supported by the pay equity unit within the Canadian Human Rights Commission. My team and I will be responsible for the administration and enforcement of the new law, and for providing assistance and guidance to workplace parties.

Over the next year, in the lead up to the coming into force of the Act, the Pay Equity Division will be working hard, both within our organization and across federal workplaces, to increase readiness for the transition from the existing complaint-based regime to the new proactive pay equity system.

If you have any questions for my team and I please contact us by email.

Yours Sincerely,

Karen Jensen