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Pay Equity Act

All Québec employers have obligations to fulfill under the Pay Equity Act.

For employers not subject to the Act:

  • Calculate the size of the company each year until it reaches an average of 10 or more paid employees.

For employers reporting 11 or more paid employees to the Registraire des Entreprises (REQ) for the previous year:

  • Produce the Employer Declaration on pay equity and update it annually.

For employers whose business employs an average of 10 employees or more in a calendar year:

  • Undertake a pay equity exercise within four years of being subject to the Act
  • Assess pay equity maintenance every 5 years.


Assessing pay equity maintenance

In 2015 and 2016, more than 33,000 employers will have to assess the maintenance of pay equity in their business, whether for the first or second time. Indeed, an employer who has completed the pay equity exercise must assess its maintenance every 5 years. When to conduct a maintenance assessment (French only).

Employers who should have completed a pay equity exercise on or no later than December 31, 2010, and employers who should complete a pay equity exercise at a later date

The “anniversary date” on which to assess pay equity maintenance is the date on which the new posting under section 76 of the Act was made or, if the posting does not occur within the set time limit, on the date on which it should have taken place. For example, an employer who proceeded to new posting on September 30, 2010, must post the results of the first maintenance assessment on September 30, 2015, the “anniversary date.”

Employers who should have assessed the maintenance of pay equity on or no later than December 31, 20102

The “anniversary date” is based on the date on which the results of the pay equity maintenance assessment were posted or on the date on which they should have been posted. Subsequent assessments of pay equity maintenance must be made every 5 years on the “anniversary date.” For example, a business that posted the results of its first assessment of pay equity maintenance on December 31, 2010, must post the results of its second assessment on December 31, 2015, the ‘’anniversary date.’’

Employers who should have assessed the maintenance of pay equity on or no later than December 31, 2011
The “anniversary date” is based on the date on which the results of the pay equity maintenance assessment were posted or on the date on which they should have been posted. Subsequent assessments of pay equity maintenance must be made every 5 years on the “anniversary date.” For example, a business that posted the results of its first assessment of pay equity maintenance on December 31, 2011, must post the results of its second assessment on December 31, 2016, the ‘’anniversary date.’’

In all cases:

Information or data used for this assessment must reflect the company profile on the “anniversary date.” No specific method is imposed for assessing pay equity maintenance. The employer may therefore perform the assessment using a different method from the one chosen for the pay equity exercise or for the last maintenance assessment. Unlike the pay equity exercise, the company’s size is not a factor in determining the employer’s obligations in the maintenance assessment process. Once the maintenance assessment results are posted, it is important to update the Employer Declaration on Pay Equity (French only).

 

Tools to help employers

The Commission de l’équité salariale provides employers with tools to help them on its website:

• The section Les Règles établies par la Loi in the Réaliser et maintenir l’équité salariale section (in French only);
• A software package for achieving pay equity and assessing its maintenance (in French only);
Frequently asked questions (in French only);
• General online training on pay equity (in French only).

Employers can also contact the Commission (in French only).


The consequences of not meeting obligations

An employer that fails to comply with its obligations may be the subject of a complaint from an employee or a trade union or an audit by the Commission. No company is immune to an audit, regardless of its industry, size or administrative region.

An employer that fails to meet its obligations under the Pay Equity Act or the Regulation respecting the report on pay equity:

  • Will have to abide by the decision of the Commission de l'équité salariale; and
  • Is liable to prosecution resulting in fines ranging from $1,000 to $45,000, which can be doubled in the event of a repeat offence.

When rulings are issued within the framework of the audit program, the Commission shall publish the names of the companies at fault on its website until the employer complies with the ruling. For more information (in French only).

 

1 The new posting following the posting of the results of the pay equity exercise or following the posting of the results of steps 3 and 4 of a pay equity plan.

2 Section 49 of the 2009 Act.



 

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