by Enoch Akinlade

The Canadian government has announced its plan to introduce a pay equity legislation that is constructed to ensure that women and men receive equal pay in the federal workplace. The main objective of the legislation to protect women’s rights in the workplace by closing the pay gap between men and women in the workplace.

Under this legislation, federally regulated workplaces will be required to review their compensation practices and ensure that women and men receive equal pay for their value in the workplace such as the federal private sector, federal public service, Parliamentary workplaces and Minister’s offices will all need to abide by the pay equity legislation. They will have three years to implement the requirements stated by the legislation. The new regime will apply to federal employers with 10 or more employees. The government has set out two sets of requirements, one for employers with 10 to 99 employees and one for employers with over 100 employees.

Justin Trudeau Prime Minister of Canada and Leader of the Liberal Party

The Canadian government have also announced that under this new legislation a Pay Equity Commissioner will be appointed, which will be under the support of the Canada Human Rights Commission. Under the decree of this law the Commissioner has several objectives under this legislation, such as ensuring that employers and workers know all the guidelines of the new law. Additionally, they are responsible for resolving pay disputes, carrying out audits and inquiries and imposing penalties for the violation of the pay equity legislation.

To highlight this conundrum that women face of underpayment in the workplace, Statistics Canada data revealed in 2017 that for every dollar a man earned, a woman earned 88.5 cents on the dollar as measured in hourly wages for full-time workers. Additionally, it was also underlined that when comparing the overall earnings on an annual basis, women earned even less by earning 69 cents for every dollar earned by men, despite having the same education qualifications and experience as their male counterparts.

Equal Pay Campaigners in the UK in 1954

Advocates of Pay equity in Canada such as MP Terry Sheehan who has been a long advocate for pay equity in Canada, argues that this legislation has been long overdue at the same time he lauds the Government’s efforts to close this gender pay crisis in Canada. On the other hand, critics such as MP Sheila Malcolmson from the (NDP) New Democratic Party contend that the new legislation plan is a positive step in achieving equality for women, she also underlines the fact that the law does not consider the pay discrimination which minorities encounter, as the income disparity amongst minorities and people with disability is even wider, according to Statistics Canada Data.  

Enoch Akinlade is a writer who has a profound interest in British, American and Canadian politics, and other topics such as health, social inequalities, crime and sport. Furthermore, he is also deeply interested in topics such as the criminal justice system in the United States, Britain, Australia and Canada. He is also highly interested in the Prison industrial complex in America.