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What do employers need to know about Equal Pay for Equal Work

What do employers need to know about Equal Pay for Equal Work?

With reference to Canada’s labour laws, Equal Pay for Equal Work establishes the right to gender equality and freedom from gender-based discrimination. In Ontario, the concept falls under two areas: 1) the Pay Equity Act; and 2) the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA). For employers, it is important to ensure that within your organization, both women and men receive equal pay for performing equal work. By definition under the ESA, “equal work” refers to “substantially the same job”, meaning work that is substantially the same, requiring the same skill, effort, and responsibility and performed under similar working conditions in the same establishment.

Are there exceptions to Equal Pay for Equal Work?

Yes. Different rates can be paid to a male and female worker doing the same work if the difference is because of:

  • A seniority system
  • A merit system
  • A measurement of earnings system, based on quantity or quality of production
  • A difference that is not gender-based
In the news: equal-pay for part-time workers

In June 2017, Ontario introduced the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act. Under the proposed Act, equal pay for equal work would apply to casual, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees. This means part-time workers would be paid the same wage for doing the same job as a full-time permanent employee. If passed, these changes would come into effect as of April 1, 2018. As a small business owner, if you are challenged by a part-time or temporary employee dispute based on pay rate, know that these amendments would not apply to any wage differences based on the exceptions listed above. For more information on the upcoming changes to the ESA, read our blog post, which talks about the 10 Changes to the Employment Standards Act that employers can start to prepare for.


Whether you have questions about Equal Pay for Equal Work or additional employment-related questionsPeninsula has answers. We are dedicated to supporting small business owners with 24/7 advice. Call our free helpline – 1(833) 247-3652. We’re here to help you.