Victory: Federal pay equity legislation comes into effect this summer

After decades of leading the fight on pay equity, PSAC celebrates Canada’s Pay Equity Act coming into force August 31, 2021. The Act is an historic victory in the struggle for gender equality, and will help close the wage gap between men and women doing work of equal value in federally regulated workplaces, covering more than 900,000 private sector workers and over 300,000 public service workers, many of them PSAC members.

Once in place, federally regulated employers with 10 or more employees – in both the public and private sector – will have three years to establish a pay equity plan to eliminate gender-based discriminatory wage differences.

Up to now, women and their unions had to file pay equity complaints that resulted in expensive, decades-long legal battles to force employers to provide equal pay for work of equal value, leaving many non-unionized women without accessible or affordable recourse. Now, all employers must put plans in place to do so, without the need for workers to file complaints.

PSAC is also pleased the Pay Equity Act:

  • provides independent oversight and enforcement through the first pay equity commissioner with the necessary resources to carry out her mandate
  • sets out timelines for compulsory reviews
  • requires employers to set aside funds to eliminate any wage gaps

In a country where women earn 89 cents for every dollar earned by men for work of equal value, and where Indigenous women, racialized women and women with disabilities earn even less, this is an important milestone in advancing gender equality.


July 9, 2021