Pay equity has been an issue discussed throughout the Canadian economy for decades, but it has become particularly relevant with the implementation of the Federal Pay Equity Act on August 31st of this year. Prior to this nationwide legislation, pay equity was not mandated across all provinces, which can make this topic seem confusing or counter-intuitive to those unfamiliar with it. Fortunately, though, the use of pay equity brings with it a host of benefits to Canadian businesses, especially in the manufacturing field, and is an excellent tool to overcome common industry obstacles, making the understanding and utilization of it a worthwhile necessity.
First, it’s important to note the differences between pay equity and equal pay for equal work. The latter refers to equal compensation in its barest form, ensuring that, for example, a male and female worker in the same position at the same company are being paid the same amount of money. Pay equity, however, compares the value of different jobs across various fields and eliminates discrepancies between them, ensuring that workers in areas typically dominated by one gender always receive fair pay for their efforts. As discussed in a previous newsroom article, female employees typically endure harsher setbacks from external forces than their male equivalents do, which can contribute to disillusionment, lessened efficiency, and, ultimately, abandonment of their posts. Through pay equity, female workers receive appropriate compensation for the abilities and knowledge their jobs require, which heightens motivation, engagement, and productivity, and creates a balanced, comfortable working environment for all employees.
As employers in the Canadian manufacturing industry are well aware, there is currently a significant shortage of skilled labourers across the country. When combined with an aging existing workforce and fierce competition from both domestic and international shores, recruitment and retainment of skilled, passionate employees become essential for long-term survival and success. Through use of pay equity by manufacturers, positions in these areas become more appealing to young workers of any background from both a financial and social standpoint, bolstering employee bases with fresh talent, innovative thought methods, and an influx of diverse perspectives. In turn, this incentivizes employees who have stayed with their organizations for long periods of time to train their recently-acquired co-workers unreservedly and receive fitting pay for doing so, reinforcing enthusiasm and ambition across the board.
Canadian manufacturers would do well to remember that a fairly-paid employee is a productive employee, and one that can feel secure in their position. As the Federal Pay Equity Act comes into effect, manufacturers should take a closer look at their own pay equity policy, and understand how it benefits the longevity, effectiveness, and morale of their employees. For further resources on pay equity, visit the Ontario Pay Equity Commission’s website, and see Leah Nacua’s Newsroom article on the differences between Pay Equity and Pay Equality. Also be sure to participate in EMC’s wide range of member-exclusive programs, designed to address the needs of Canadian manufacturers in any field, and take advantage of the employment resources in EMC’s Learning Centre for additional leadership best practices.