Pay equity

Pay equity is part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to create fair, safe and inclusive workplaces today and in the future.

In 2021, a woman in Canada earned 89 cents for every dollar a man earned, as measured in hourly wages for full-time and part-time workers. Pay equity reduces the portion of the gender wage gap due to the undervaluation of work traditionally done by women.

On August 31, 2021, the Pay Equity Act and the Pay Equity Regulations came into force. The Act establishes a new proactive pay equity regime that ensures women and men in federally regulated sectors receive equal pay for work of equal value by addressing gender-based discrimination in employers’ pay practices and systems.

The regime covers federally regulated employers with 10 or more employees, including employees holding unionized, non-unionized, full-time, part-time, permanent, casual and temporary positions.

The legislation provides clear timelines for employers to follow when implementing and maintaining pay equity proactively. More specifically, the Act requires employers to:

  • establish a foundation by posting a pay equity notice and putting in place a pay equity committee, should they be required or choose to do so;
  • post a final pay equity plan by the third year of becoming subject to the Act;
  • increase employee compensation at the start of the third year after becoming subject to the Act;
  • file a first annual statement with the Pay Equity Commissioner by the fourth year of becoming subject to the Act and then yearly onwards; and
  • update the pay equity plan every five years, in part by collecting workplace information on the last day of each fiscal year.

Canada’s federal Pay Equity Commissioner is a full-time member of the Canadian Human Rights Commission and provides independent oversight of the legislative regime. The Act equips the Commissioner with a broad range of powers and tools to administer and enforce the regime.

Pay gap reporting

The Government of Canada is proud to be the first country to move forward with pay gap reporting measures aimed at addressing pay gaps that affect women, Indigenous people, people with disabilities and members of visible minorities in the federally regulated private sector.

The measures give employers the opportunity to examine their practices and show leadership in reducing pay gaps. Understanding the facts about pay gaps will help shift business culture and expectations toward greater equality.

The Government of Canada will also review Canada’s Employment Equity Act to bring the legislation in line with current realities and to help further advance equity, diversity and inclusion. Removing barriers to employment helps to build a country where every Canadian has a fair and equal chance to reach their full potential.


EPIC can be relevant to Canada in a number of ways. The Government of Canada is looking forward to learning from best practices for implementation and monitoring in other countries as they relate to initiatives and legislative measures aimed at reducing the gender wage gap, including pay equity and pay transparency. Canada will also share its expertise and practices concerning gender equity initiatives with other countries. EPIC also represents an opportunity for networking and building relationships in areas of common interest. Finally, Canada is looking forward to advancing and contributing to the realisation of Sustainable Development Goal 8. This focuses on promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all, particularly with a view to accelerating the pace toward equal pay for work of equal value.