Federal Budget 2018 Measures to Address Pay Equity: What Employers Need to Know

The federal government tabled its 2018 Budget, titled Equality + Growth: A Strong Middle Class, on February 27, 2018. The 2018 Budget contains several new initiatives which will impact federally regulated employers. This update addresses the federal government’s plan to introduce new proactive pay equity legislation in 2018.

Pay Equity Legislation

This legislation will be designed to ensure that on average, women and men in federally regulated sectors receive the same pay for work of equal value. This initiative is one of several that the federal government intends to implement to address the gender wage gap.

The 2018 Budget sets out that this legislation will:

  • Apply to federal employers with 10 or more employees, with pay equity requirements built as much as possible into existing federal compliance regimes.
  • Establish a streamlined pay equity process for employers with fewer than 100 employees.
  • Set out specific timelines for implementation, and compulsory maintenance reviews.
  • Include job titles such as seasonal, temporary, part-time and full-time positions.
  • Provide independent oversight.
  • Ensure that both wages and other benefits are evaluated in a gender-neutral way.
  • Apply to the Federal Contractors Program on contracts equal to or greater than $1 million, and ensure a robust application of federal employment equity law.
  • Repeal previous legislation such as the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act which is inconsistent with the goal of pay equity.

The 2018 Budget sets out the federal government’s intention to continue to consult with employers, unions and other stakeholders regarding this initiative.

Pay Transparency

Along with introducing new pay equity legislation, the 2018 Budget also provides that the government will be providing Canadians with information regarding the pay practices of employers in federally regulated sectors. This will include the conversion of information that is already provided to the government by federally regulated employers under the Employment Equity Act into online content with specific attention drawn to wage gaps affecting women, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities and visible minorities.

The current Ontario government has also made commitments respecting pay transparency. On March 20, 2018, the Ontario government re-introduced pay transparency legislation, titled the Pay Transparency Act, 2018. We will be tracking the progress of this bill and providing provincially regulated employers in Ontario with updates regarding its impact on their workplace practices.

We will continue to keep you updated with information that the federal government releases regarding its plans for new pay equity legislation and pay transparency, as well as with respect to opportunities to participate in any consultation process.

If you have any questions, please contact a member of McCarthy Tétrault LLP’s Labour and Employment group.

2018 Federal Budget Pay Equity Pay Pay Transparency wages

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