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    Achieving Gender Pay Equity in Ontario – Part I
    Posted: 2012-11-27 05:00:52


    Gender pay equity has been a hot topic for many decades, especially when women started entering the workforce in great numbers. In the face of worldwide economic woes, this issue has resurfaced and is getting greater attention in the press. Regardless of its popularity, few are aware of what the law actually says about pay equity and what rights it provides women and men in the workforce.

    What does Pay Equity mean?

    Pay equity does not mean that women and men must get paid equally for doing the same work. This is an important point as many people probably believe that this is exactly what pay equity means and it is actually addressed by the Employment Standards Act.

    Under the Ontario Pay Equity Act, pay equity refers to the equality of wages for jobs usually done by women and those done by men that create the same value of work. For example, if the wages of a manager are compared to the wages of an administrative assistant and the value of the work done by the manager and the assistant is the same, both positions have to receive the same amount of pay. As the Pay Equity Act strives to close the wage gap between men and women producing the same value at work, it focuses on the amount of skills, mental effort, physical effort and responsibility necessary to perform the job, as opposed to its specific functions. This point is important to remember if you are thinking about complaining to the Pay Equity Commission about your employer.

    Who is covered by the Pay Equity Act?

    If you are working in Ontario (full time or part time) for a company with more than 10 employees or for a public sector employer, you are covered by the Pay Equity Act. The Act does not cover employees working for the Federal Government, Banks, Airlines, Television stations or any other employer in an industry that is regulated by the federal government. It also does not cover students who work during a vacation.

    When comparing different jobs, it is important to compare how much skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions is required, and look beyond job titles because they can be deceptive and lead to false impressions. The goal is to compare roles in an objective manner and evaluate their worth. Pay Equity is a right and all employees should be aware of it. Employers are responsible for conducting pay-equity comparison between jobs with similar value and setting the wages accordingly. If that is not the case and you believe your pay is disproportionately low to your work, there are processes in place (such as a complaint to the Pay Equity Commission) that can help resolve your situation.

    In the next blog, the process of complaining to the Pay Equity Commission will be discussed. For more information about Pay Equity, visit the site of Pay Equity Commission.

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