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Pay Equity

Prince Edward Island

Pay Equity

Which legislation addresses equal pay in my jurisdiction?

In Prince Edward Island there are two laws that address equal pay: the Human Rights Act, which applies to the private and public sectors, and the Pay Equity Act, which applies only to the public sector.

How does the law measure equality of pay?

The two laws that address equal pay in PEI do so differently.
  • Human Rights Act – looks at the rate of pay
  • Pay Equity Act – looks at wages

How does the law compare different kinds of work?

The two laws that address equal pay in PEI compare differently.
  • Human Rights Act – compares substantially the same work, requiring equal education, skill, experience, effort and responsibility, under similar working conditions
  • Pay Equity Act – compares work of equal or comparable value. Composite of skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions

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

  • Human Rights Act – seniority; merit; quantity or quality of production or performance; factors may not be based on discrimination.
  • Pay Equity Act – performance appraisal system; seniority system; skills shortage causing a temporary inflation in wages.

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

  • Human Rights Act – Civil action may be initiated in the Supreme Court, or a complaint may be made to the Commission followed by an investigation by the Executive Director of the Commission. His/her decision may be reviewed by the Chairperson of the Commission. If the dispute has not been settled, or if the complaint should not have been dismissed or if a proposed settlement is not fair or reasonable, the complaint is referred to a Human Rights Panel whose decision is final and binding. The Minister may also apply for a court order prohibiting a person from continuing an offence under the Act.
  • Pay Equity Act – If the parties cannot come to an agreement respecting the choice or development of a single genderneutral job-evaluation plan or system, or its implementation, or the exact quantum of pay equity adjustments to be made, the matter is referred to an arbitration board constituted under s. 40 of the Labour Act. A Pay Equity Bureau is established which has sufficient powers to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Act. The Act sets out a complaint mechanism, as well as protection from intimidation, coercion, penalties or discrimination for participating in a proceeding under the Act or for seeking its enforcement.

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

  • Human Rights Act – A civil action must commence within 12 months from the cause of the action. A person can only claim wages which would have been earned during 12 months immediately preceding termination of employment or preceding the commencement of the proceedings, whichever occurred first.
  • Pay Equity Act – Employers are required to make annual pay adjustments of not more than 1% of annual payroll until pay equity is achieved.

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