There’s a big difference between equal pay and pay equity. Equal pay, i.e., a ban on paying women less than men for identical work on the basis of sex, is illegal in every part of Canada. But it’s a passive law that doesn’t require employers to take any real action and doesn’t get enforced unless somebody files a complaint. Pay equity, by contrast, requires employers to not only refrain from but also taking active measures to ensure that there are no pay gaps between men and women. More specifically, it requires employers to analyze their past and present pay practices and pay compensation to eliminate any gaps they identify.
Only 8 of Canada’s 14 jurisdictions have adopted pay equity legislation. And among them, only 3 apply their pay equity laws to the private sector. Here’s a map visually displaying the current state of pay equity law in each part of the country.
Pay Equity Laws Across Canada