Ottawa Passes Pay Equity Law to Close Pay Gaps
The federal government in Ottawa has passed its long-awaited “Pay Equity Act” which will come into force on August 31 and aims to reduce the wage gap between male and female workers.
The new law, which was first unveiled three years ago, means Canadian employers in federally regulated industries with 10 or more employees now have three years to identify and correct wage disparities within their workforce – disparities which more often than not make women earn less than men. .
Women in Canada’s labor force earn about 89 cents for every dollar earned by men, according to government figures. Women also suffered more severe and lasting economic losses than men during the pandemic, according to Statistics Canada.
About 1.3 million people, or 6% of Canadian workers, are employed in federally regulated industries and will be affected by the new legislation. This includes sectors such as banking, air travel, railways, and crown corporations.
The new federal regulations seek to address this problem by requiring employers to conduct comprehensive workforce reviews with the aim of providing employees “equal pay for work of equal value.”
Employers will need to identify any roles in their organizations that offer similar levels of value, and then increase wages when jobs are found to be underpaid.
Pay Equity Commissioner of Canada, Karen Jensen, will be able to impose fines of $ 30,000 on employers with up to 99 employees who do not comply with the new Pay Equity Act, and $ 50,000 in fines for organizations with larger staff.