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The Pay Equity Office’s head office is temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we continue to serve the public. Go to our “Contact Us” page for more information.

​​​​​​​​​Doe​​​s the Pay Equity Act apply to me?​

​Ontario’s Pay Equ​​ity Act applies to:

  • Public sector organizations as listed in the Pay Equity Act and its regulations  
  • Provincially regulated ​ private sector   organizations with 10 or more employees
  • Full-time and part-time positions, including seasonal positions
  • Unionized and non-unionized positions except a student employed for his or her vacation period (students working part-time while attending school are covered by the Act)
  • Former employees of a workplace covered by the Act

What are my respon​​sibilities under the Pay Equity Act?

​Employers must show that pay equity has been both achieved and maintained in their organization. To meet the minimum requirements of the Act, employers must carry out the following activities (if an employer has more than one location or “establishment”, these activities must be done for each establishment):

  1. Determine job classes, including gender and job rate of job classes.
  2. Determine the value of job classes based on legislative requirements of skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions using a gender-neutral comparison tool.
  3. Conduct job comparison for all female job classes using job-to-job and/or proportional value method of comparison.
  4. Identify and adjust the compensation of underpaid female job classes so that they are paid at least as much as an equal or comparable male job class or classes. All retroactive payment must include interest.
  5. If ordered by a Review Officer to do so, provide payroll summary and proof of payment to the Pay Equity Office.

The value proposition of pay equity

Considerable research is now available that shows the financial benefit of equitable compensation for companies and the economy, in addition to individuals. Check our Research and Resources​ section​ to see the latest research.

​One of my employees has filed a complaint – now what?

The Pay Equity Office begins the investigation process upon receipt of a completed application. The Office sends a letter to the applicant confirming receipt of application, the name of the Review Officer assigned to the case file and advising of the assigned file number. The applicant is encouraged to provide as much information as possible when filing the application.  The Review Officer will contact the applicant or specified agent to discuss the information provided and explain the process of the investigation.

The Review Officer will notify the employer that she/he has started an investigation. The employer will be advised who filed the application unless the applicant specifically requests to remain anonymous and assigns an agent to act on the applicant's behalf.

The Review Officer will require the employer to post a “Notice of Requirement to Achieve and Maintain Pay Equity” in the workplace to inform employees that an investigation is taking place.  The Review Officer will request the employer to complete and return a “Certificate of Posting” to confirm this was done.
In addition, the Review Officer will ask the employer to provide:

  • The legal name of the employer and date the organization started operations in Ontario

  • The total number of employees and locations in Ontario, including a list of all staff with titles and job classes
  • A listing of all job classes, including the male and female comparators and their job evaluation and job rates, the job evaluation tool used and any maintenance efforts
  • A copy of the organization's recent payroll records for all current and former employees
  • A copy of the bargaining agent's collective agreement (if applicable).

How Long Will It Take to Finish an Investigation?

​​The time to complete an investigation depends on many factors, including the complexity of issues, whether there are others who have filed similar applications, and how much time has passed since the contravention occurred, among others. While there is no typical time frame, applications may take anywhere from a few weeks to as much as 24 months to resolve.

What Does the Review Officer Do?

Review Officers play a neutral role. Their responsibility is to gather as much information as possible, and if the parties do not reach their own resolution of the dispute, have the authority to make a decision as to whether the Pay Equity Act has been contravened. If a Review Officer finds a contravention, the Review Officer also has the authority to order a party to take steps to comply with the Act.

Do I Have to Wait for the Review Officer’s Decision?

​Where a complaint has been filed against an employer, the parties are encouraged to be open to the possibility of settling the dispute on their own. In the event that the parties reach a settlement, and upon receiving written notification from both parties of a settlement, the Review Officer will close the file immediately.​​​