The federal government is taking steps to close the gender wage gap with the Pay Equity Act, which came into effect on Aug. 31.
The legislation requires federally regulated public and private sector employers to ensure workers receive equal pay for work of equal value, according to a press release, which noted employers have three years to develop and implement proactive pay equity plans.
These plans must involve studying whether work done primarily by women receives pay equal to work done by men. Employers are also required to revise and update their plan at a minimum of every five years. As well, employers with 100 or more employees or with unionized employees, will need to form a pay equity committee to carry out the steps of their plan.
Karen Jensen, pay equity commissioner, will be able to levy $30,000 fines on employers with up to 99 staff that don’t comply and $50,000 fines for those with larger workforces.
The Employment Equity Act will undergo a review over the next few months. A 13-member task force is studying the act and consulting with stakeholders, communities and Canadians on issues related to employment equity, according to the release. And a final report on how to modernize the act is expected in early 2022.