Pay Equity

AuthorPaul Wearing
Pay Equity
What You Should Know
Pay equity is equal pay for work of equal or comparable value. It is not
about evaluating individual employees or their job performance. An as-
sessment of pay equity is achieved through gender-neutral job evaluation.
This unique law, the Ontario Pay Equity Act,1 was enacted in 1988 to
address gender inequality in compensation. Th e purpose of the law is
to take armative action to redress gender discrimination in the com-
pensation of Ontario employees in female job classes. The law sets out
a detailed procedure for comparing the work of female-dominated job
classes with the work of male-dominated job classes.
Private sector employers with ten or more employees are subject to this
law. All public sector employers regardless of the size of their workforce
must comply with the law, and this includes organizations subject to gov-
ernment licensing such as daycare, nursing home, and long-term care
businesses, to name a few.
The law does not def‌ine “employee,” but the Ontario Pay Equity
Hearings Tribunal has interpreted the term broadly, applying common
law tests when employers argue that persons are independent contrac-
tors, not “employees,” and thereby excluded from consideration in the
identif‌ication of job classes for the comparison of work in the job evalu-
ation process. The tribunal applies the common law “organizational test”
and looks at whether the work performed by the person is integral to the

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