Release of GWGP – a ‘wake-up call’

By: Holly Ormsbee

In January of this year the Ontario Pay Equity Office (OPEO) released letters to private sector employers requesting information as it pertains to their pay equity practices. The requested information included but was not limited to wage rates, job titles and gender information broken down by job class. The stated purpose of The Gender Wage Gap Program (GWGP) is to establish the extent of gender wage gaps in Ontario Private Sector workplaces.  The OPEO gave employers 45 days to respond to the request.

If any gender gaps are identified or the employer fails to provide the requested information, the OPEO has stipulated that the employer’s file may be referred for further review.

What the release of these letters indicates is a revival of Pay Equity. The OPEO is proactively searching for employers to investigate. In the past the OPEO identifies employers only through complaints and the random Monitoring Program which typically is geographically focused.

Although the Ontario Pay Equity Act (OPEA) has been in place for over 20 years, many employers are yet to be compliant. The release of the GWGP should serve as a ‘wake-up call’ for employers that are not compliant with the OPEA. To limit liability it is better to start working through the process before OPEO comes knocking at the door.

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