Featured Guides

Pay Equity Solution for Small Business Do-It-Yourself Toolkit​

Introducing the Pay Equity Solution for Small Business Do-It-Yourself Toolkit, created by Ontario’s Pay Equity Office. This toolkit will help you analyze your compensation practices and support your business while also complying with the law. The Pay Equity Toolkit guides you through seven steps to complete a pay equity analysis.​

Ontario’s Pay Equity Act
with Selected Case References, 2022

The Q&A Guide to
Ontario’s Pay Equity Act

The Q&A Guide to Ontario’s Pay Equity Act is written in a Q&A format that follows the structure of the Act.​​

Learn More about The Pay Equity Act 

The​​​​​​​ Act:

  • ​Requires employers to assess all jobs in an organization by conducting an unbiased comparison of the work done by women to the work done by men in order to determine whether the women are being compensated equitably. For example, the receptionist for a company may be as valuable to the organization as the warehouse shipper-receiver. The Act requires an employer to compensate work done by female job class(es)* at least equally to work done by comparable male job class(es).
  • Requires employers to keep pay equity plans up-to-date (often referred to as “maintenance”).
  • Sets out a self-managed process for organizations. In other words, the Pay Equity Office does not prepare pay equity plans.
  • Creates a safe forum for any party (employer, employee, union) to file a complaint with the Pay Equity Office if someone believes that the Act has been contravened.
  • Allows any party to appeal a Pay Equity Office decision to the Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal.
  • Allows the Pay Equity Office to refer a matter to the Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal. ​
*“Job class” is a group of positions in an organization that have similar duties and responsibilities, require similar qualifications, are filled by similar recruiting procedures, and have the same compensation. A job class can consist of a single position (usually in small organizations).
Part I of the Act applies to all provincial and provincially-funded* public sector organizations in Ontario, and to provincially regulated** private sector***  organizations with 10 or more employees.

Part II of the Act applies to companies that had:
100+ employees on January 1, 1988
10-99 employees on January 1, 1988 and posted a pay equity plan by December 31, 1993

Part II of the Act applies to public sector organizations that:
Had one or more employees on January 1, 1988
Had no employees on January 1, 1988 but had at least one employee by July 1, 1993

*Provincially-funded includes

  • Municipalities
  • School boards
  • Universities and colleges of applied arts and technology
  • Hospitals and health boards
  • The Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the Legislature, and all Offices of the Legislature
  • Additional bodies listed in the Schedule to the Act

**Ontario regulates all industries that are not regulated by the federal government. Click here to access the list of federally regulated workplaces.

***The Pay Equity Act considers the “private sector” to include the not-for-profit sector.

Important note about Part III.2:
In 1996, the Legislature repealed the proxy provisions of the Act (S.O. 1996, c.1, schedule J, s.1.). The Service Employees International Union challenged the repeal before the Ontario Divisional Court on the basis that it contravened sections 15 and 28 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Court agreed with the Union and ruled that the repeal was unconstitutional and of no force and effect. (SEIU, Local 201 v. Ontario (Attorney-General) (1997), 35 O.R. (3d) 508).

​While the Court’s ruling restored the proxy provisions to full effect, the Act has not been amended to reintroduce the repealed sections into the statute.  The missing provisions of the Pay Equity Act, which the Pay Equity Office (PEO) is required to enforce, are reproduced on the Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal’s website.  A downloadable pdf version can be accesse​d here​​.​

​This reproduction is provided for your assistance and convenience only. Please refer to the Pay Equity Amendment Act, S.O. 1993, c.4 EN and FR which remains the official version.​

Visit our Research and Resources

The Gender Wage Gap: It’s more than you think!

About The Gender Pension Gap

Pay Equity or Equal Pay for Equal Work?

Find more on our Research and Resources page

Visit Level the Paying Field where we explore issues related to economics, equity, women, work and money.  This series of conversations explores topics impacting women working in Ontario and is published by Ontario’s Pay Equity Office.