The government recently proposed regulations that will require federal private sector employers to identify any wage gaps for workers from the four equity groups: women, racialized and Indigenous workers, and workers with disabilities. The proposed changes to the Employment Equity Regulations also include other amendments that would improve and simplify salary reporting by employers covered by the legislation.
PSAC provided feedback on the proposed Regulations in a recent letter to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).
Unfortunately the Liberal government introduced the regulations too late to finalize and implement before the October 2019 federal election call. Moving them forward will now be the decision of the next federal government.
PSAC proposes stronger measures
While the proposed regulations require employers to report wage gaps between workers from equity groups as compared to their non-equity counterparts, employers are not required to take steps to reduce those wage gaps.
PSAC has recommended the following remedies to strengthen both the legislative and regulatory framework to ensure real progress with respect to employment equity:
- The Employment Equity Act (EEA) must be reviewed and revised as soon as possible. The Act is badly out of date and hasn’t been reviewed since 2002. Changing the Regulations before changing the Act makes little sense.
- All employers covered under the EEA as well as the Federal Contractors Program must be subject to pay transparency. The proposed regulations changes would only apply to federal private sector employers and crown corporations. They do not cover federal government departments and separate agencies, nor federal contractors who are covered by employment equity.
- The Regulations and/or the Act must clarify how different gap measurements are to be used by employers. The Regulations allow employers to determine a mean and a median wage gap. Employers should not be allowed to close the smaller gap which may not accurately represent wage inequities.
- ESDC should closely monitor and report the data for wage gaps for all the equity groups. Pay transparency does not require employers to reduce wage gaps, only report them to ESDC. PSAC proposes that ESDC should monitor the wage gaps and make amendments to the EEA or Pay Equity Act to ensure employers are required to address these gaps.
PSAC will continue to fight for changes to employment equity and pay equity legislation to promote and increase equity in the workplace. Once a new government is elected, we will push the government to put these proposed Regulations in effect.