The Gender Pay Gap is Real – It’s Time for Change!
The Proactive Pay Equity Act – It’s Coming. It’s Overdue. Lead the Way.
In October 2018, the Government of Canada announced a Proactive Pay Equity Act for federally regulated employers. While it hasn’t yet come into effect (and no date has been officially announced), it’s on its way. At this point, the Act doesn’t apply to provincially regulated employers; however, we encourage all employers to lead the way with a proactive plan, rather than waiting for the legislation.
Why is it necessary? Consider the following Canadian statistics:
- Women earn on average .75 for every dollar men make (annual earnings/salary) and .86 for every dollar (hourly wage); the gap is even greater for indigenous women, those with disabilities, visible minorities and immigrants (Stats Can)
- Women with similar experience and socio-economic/demographic backgrounds earn on average $7,200 less annually than men (Ontario Government)
- Women are paid less than men in 469 out of 500 occupations (Stats Can)
- Women are over-represented in lower-paying jobs and under-represented in senior positions
- Canada is ranked as having the 8th highest gender pay gap out of 43 countries (these include the EU, which itself has 28 countries)
- It takes women on average 15.5 months to earn what a man earns in 12 (OEPC)
- 97% of truck drivers in Canada are male and 97% of early childhood educators are female; truck drivers make on average $45,417 per year, while childhood educators make on average $25,334
- Women who’ve completed a bachelor degree earn a median of $41,600 after 2 years, compared with $47,200 for men; with college diplomas, they earn $36,200, compared to $43,900 for men (Stats Can)
- The list goes on…
While it’s unfortunate that we need legislation to provide equitable pay, the statistics are clear that we do – and it’s long overdue. The Act will require federal employers (public and private sector, with 10+ employees) to develop and implement a plan that will identify and correct differences in compensation between females and males. The end goal is to ensure equal pay for equal work of equal value.
The Pay Equity Act will require employers to:
- Identify job classes within their workplace (full-time, part-time, seasonal and temporary)
- Specify the gender predominance of those classes (e.g. female, male, gender neutral)
- Evaluate the value of work performed by each job class in a gender neutral way
- Identify the compensation associated with each job class
- Compare the compensation between female and male dominant job classes of similar value
- Identify which job classes require an increase
- Identify when increases will be due
- Provide information to employees on how to dispute/resolve issues about their pay
The plan must be prepared and submitted within three years of the Act’s effective date. Then, once the plan is in place, employers will be required to:
- Review and update at minimum every 5 years to identify and address any subsequent gaps
- Inform employees of the plan and report on accomplishments
- Provide employees with sufficient opportunity to review and comment on the plan before it’s finalized
- Submit annual statements to the Pay Equity Commissioner
- Unionized employers and non-unionized employers with more than 100 employees must also establish a Pay Equity Committee who will develop and update the plan
While the Act’s effective date has not yet been released, it’s on its way. And although employers will have three years from the effective date to prepare and submit plans, your opportunity to stay ahead of the curve is now. It’s almost 2020. The future is here. Whether federally or provincially regulated, now’s the perfect time for a review of your pay practices to ensure that all of your employees are paid equitably, consistently and fairly.