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Equal pay for the same work

Region: Ontario Answer Number: 590

Equal pay for women and men

Under the Employment Standards Act, it is illegal for employers to pay men and women different wages if they do substantially the same work, unless it is pursuant to a defined seniority system, a merit system, or a system based on quantity or quality of production, or some other objective measurement. As well, under pay equity legislation, if there is a group of primarily female workers, the value of their job can be compared to groups in the company of primarily male workers, based on the tasks and skills they both perform.

Most employers are now required to have a plan in place to make sure that jobs done by men and jobs done by women are paid the same, if the value of their work is the same based on objective criteria.

If you feel you are being underpaid while working in a job that is usually done by women, such as office administration, child care, or textile manufacturing, and your employer has not put a plan together to ensure you are being paid for the value of your work, contact the Government of Ontario’s Pay Equity Commission, or visit payequity.gov.on.ca.

If you are a woman working in a job usually done by men, and you think you are being underpaid because of your sex, contact the Employment Standards office at the Ontario Ministry of Labour. For information for federal workers, refer to the Government of Canada’s Pay Equity Program.

Casual, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees

Under recent amendments to the Employment Standards Act casual, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees must now be paid the same rate of pay as full-time and permanent employees if they are doing substantially the same work as the full-time and permanent employees for the same employer.

However, this new rule does not apply when the difference in the rate of pay is made on the basis of:

  • a seniority system;
  • a merit system;
  • a system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or
  • any other factor other than sex or employment status.

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For legal advice and assistance with employment matters, contact our preferred Employment lawyers and see who’s right for you: 

Levitt Employment Lawyers

Samfiru Tumarkin LLP



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