Unequal wage grids don’t violate pay equity

As long as top pay rate is the same in comparable job classes, pay equity is achieved: Ontario court
By Amanda Silliker
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 07/17/2012

As long as the top pay rate for men and women in comparable job classes is the same, the difference in the wage grid — the amount of steps and length of time it takes for employees to reach the top pay level — does not constitute a violation of the Pay Equity Act, an Ontario court has ruled.

In a recent case, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) argued two employers — Lakeridge Health in
Oshawa, Ont., and the York Region District School Board in Aurora, Ont. — were violating the Pay Equity Act by having male job classes with fewer steps on the wage grid to reach the top salary than their comparable female job classes.

At Lakeridge Health, the male-dominated service workers could progress to the top of the pay scale after nine months of service, while the comparable female-dominated clerical employees could not reach the maximum pay level until after 24 months. This would result in a health records clerk (a female job class) earning nearly $4,000 less than a storekeeper helper (male job class) in the first 24 months of employment, CUPE said.