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Pay Equity

New Brunswick

Pay Equity

Which legislation addresses equal pay in my jurisdiction?

In New Brunswick there are three laws which are related to equal pay: the Human Rights Act, which deals with general discrimination and applies to the private and public sectors; the Employment Standards Act, which applies to the private and public sectors; and, the Pay Equity Act, which applies to Part I of the Public Service, comprised of all departments and most governmental agencies.

How does the law measure equality of pay?

Each law in New Brunswick deals with equality of pay differently.
  • Human Rights Act – looks at employment or any term or condition of employment
  • Employment Standards Act – measures rate of pay
  • Pay Equity Act – looks at wages and salary

How does the law compare different kinds of work?

Each law in New Brunswick compares work differently:
  • Human Rights Act – doesn’t specify
  • Employment Standards Act – looks at work substantially the same requiring substantially the same skill, effort and responsibility, under similar working conditions
  • Pay Equity Act – looks at work of equal or comparable value, based on the composite of skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions

What reasons does the law consider acceptable for differences in pay?

  • Human Rights Act – bona fide occupational qualifications as determined by the Commission
  • Employment Standards Act – seniority system; merit system; quantity or quality of production; or any other system or practice that is not otherwise unlawful
  • Pay Equity Act – seniority system; temporary training or development assignment; merit pay plan; redcircling; skills shortage causing a temporary inflation in pay

How do I make a complaint about equality of pay discrimination?

  • Human Rights Act – A complaint is filed with the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission which investigates and attempts to effect a settlement. The matter may be referred to a Board of Inquiry or the Labour and Employment Board, and their decision is final.
  • Employment Standards Act – In case of violation of the Act, or when a person has not complied with the Act, the Director of Employment Standards investigates and decides the case, including ordering the employer to compensate for the loss in pay. He/she may appoint a mediator. An appeal may be lodged to the Labour and Employment Board. The Director's or the Board’s order may be filed as a certificate in the Court of Queen's Bench and be executed as a judgement of that Court. Civil remedy may also be sought.
  • Pay Equity Act – An arbitrator must be named if it becomes apparent that the parties will fail to reach an agreement required under the Act, within the specified period. The arbitrator must render a decision within 60 days.

Are there restrictions on recovering wages if my complaint is successful?

  • Human Rights Act – None
  • Employment Standards Act – Recovery of wages is limited to the 12-month period preceding the complaint or 12 months before the order, if the investigation is not pursuant to a complaint.
  • Pay Equity Act – The parties must agree on how the allocated amount is to be distributed among the female-dominated classes and how the pay equity adjustments are to be implemented. This agreement takes precedence over the terms of a collective agreement. The pay equity adjustments are limited to one percent of the government's annual payroll for the preceding year and must not be implemented after the employer has implemented adjustments during four consecutive twelve month periods.

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