The Pay Equity Act

The Pay Equity Act establishes a proactive pay equity regime that applies to federally-regulated employers with 10 or more employees.

While the principle of equal pay for work of equal value has been enshrined in the Canadian Human Rights Act since 1977, the burden has always been on employees to file pay equity discrimination complaints with the Commission. Under this new legislation, employers will now be required to proactively develop pay equity plans and take action to address and prevent systemic gender-based discrimination in the workplace.

In 2019, the Commission began preparing for the Act to come into full force. This work includes transitioning from the former complaint-based regime to the new proactive pay equity system, both within the Commission and across federally- regulated workplaces. Also in 2019, Canada’s first Federal Pay Equity Commissioner, Ms. Karen Jensen, was appointed to the Commission by Governor in Council to administer and enforce the new law. The Pay Equity Commissioner will be responsible for providing guidance to employers in developing their pay equity plans, undertaking compliance and enforcement activities, and resolving disputes.

With the passage of the Pay Equity Act, Canada joins leaders around the world taking action to ensure that gender equality is fully realized.