Pay equity: The countdown has started for close to 66,000 companies in Quebec

As the year winds down, the Ordre des conseillers en resources humaines agréés reminds us that the countdown has started for 65,844 companies in Quebec. Many of them now have 365 days to comply with the Pay Equity Act.

Under the new provisions of the Act, companies that were already subject to the law, but had not completed a pay equity plan have until December 31, 2010, to do so. Moreover, enterprises that have already completed their plans are required to perform an evaluation of their maintenance of pay equity by this same date. Lastly, businesses with 10 employees and more, which are newly subject to the Act, now have four years in which to comply.

Better start on time
According to the latest data for Quebec as a whole, thousands of companies haven’t yet completed their pay equity plan.

“Those organizations that still haven’t completed their first pay equity plan would be well advised to start as soon as possible to cut down on related costs. Since adjustment payments are retroactive to 2001 and subject to interest and possible fines, the sooner they take action, the lower the costs will be when adjustments are required,” explained Florent Francoeur, CHRP, President and CEO of the Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés.

Pay equity versus equal pay: be careful not to confuse the two!
One of the reasons that some companies are behind schedule is because a number of employers confuse the concept of equal pay with pay equity. “Just because a man and a woman who do the same job earn the same salary doesn’t necessarily constitute pay equity within the meaning of the Act. Pay equity consists in offering the same salary to employees whose work is comparable in value, which is quite different,” continued Francoeur.

Tools tailored to companies’ needs
To help companies in Quebec complete and maintain their pay equity plans, the Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés has developed a number of practical tools for employers that can be accessed at (in French only).

The site includes a directory of consultants across Quebec who are members of the Ordre and have expertise in pay equity, video capsules, resource guides, useful reference documents and links, a training schedule, as well as a host of other information.

Pay equity plans pay!
Lastly, the Ordre points out some of the advantages of pay equity. “Apart from legal considerations, it’s important to realize that pay equity helps maintain a good work environment. In addition, establishing a pay equity plan enables employers to better understand what their employees do and is a valuable tool in developing better compensation policies. And, in the end, all that improves an organization’s performance,” concluded Francoeur.

For free access to the tools of the Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés, visit

To learn more
A summary table of the number of enterprises subject to the Pay Equity Act for Quebec and Quebec's administrative regions is presented in the appendix.

Summary table

Number of locations where the workforce consists in 10 employees or more for Quebec and Quebec’s administrative regions

Source: adapted from Statistics Canada, Business Register, Canadian Business Patterns, June 2009
Province of Quebec 65,844
Provincial residue 166
Abitibi-Témiscamingue 1,389
Bas-Saint-Laurent 1,924
Capitale-Nationale 6,444
Centre-du-Québec 2,248
Chaudière-Appalaches 3,337
Côte-Nord 882
Estrie 2,583
Gaspésie-îles-de-la-Madeleine 742
Lanaudière 2,938
Laurentians 3,944
Laval 3,012
Mauricie 2,238
Montérégie 10,421
Montréal 18,707
Nord-du-Québec 330
Outaouais 1,904
Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean 2,635