Ontario Pay Equity Office launches free toolkit to help small businesses eliminate gender wage gaps

As a feminist organization that supports women to advance in their careers through motherhood, Moms at Work talks a lot about the gender wage gap and what can be done to close it.

Besides being good corporate practices, implementing pay transparency (when employers are open and transparent about compensation practices) and pay equity (ensuring jobs typically performed by women are compensated equally to jobs performed by men when the jobs provide similar value to the employer) are effective ways to prevent unconscious discrimination in hiring practices and create more equitable and inclusive workplaces.

So, when the Ontario Pay Equity Office announced they had developed a free toolkit to help small business owners complete a pay equity analysis, Moms at Work couldn't wait to spread the word.

Two years in the making, The Pay Equity Solution for Small Business Do-It-Yourself Toolkit was created to address and correct one of the root causes of pay discrimination, which is the historic undervaluing of work traditionally viewed as “women’s work”.

The more obvious examples that come to mind are administrative roles in a police station, childcare workers in an educational institution, or midwives in a healthcare setting; however, pay discrimination can happen in any organization employing both male and female workers.

The toolkit includes a series of short videos, explanatory infographics and an interactive form to walk employers through a simple, seven-step process to conduct a pay equity analysis and resolve any gender wage gaps.

The Ontario Pay Equity Office wants to show small businesses that there are freely available tools to support them in being true to their values of equity and fairness. It’s also much better to catch and close a gender-based pay gap when a company is small than after it’s grown to a large size.

Aside from being a legal requirement in Ontario and many other jurisdictions, becoming pay equity compliant can lead to higher levels of employee trust and satisfaction and improved retention – all things that can positively affect a company’s bottom line.

Under Ontario’s Pay Equity Act, private sector employers with ten or more employees (which includes full-time and part-time staff as well as recurring seasonal workers), must demonstrate they are pay equity compliant if a complaint is made or if selected for review by The Pay Equity Office. If a gender-based wage gap is found, the employer must take steps to become compliant and may be forced to back-pay wage adjustments.

While the toolkit was designed for Ontario-based small businesses, employers outside the province looking to implement fairer compensation practices may also find the toolkit helpful.

The free downloadable toolkit is available in both official languages and works best when opened using the latest version of Adobe Reader.

EN: Pay Equity for Small Business Do-It-Yourself Toolkit (gov.on.ca)
FR: Pay Equity for Small Business Do-It-Yourself Toolkit (gov.on.ca)

YouTube video: Introducing the Pay Equity Solution for Small Business Toolkit

Allison Venditti

Career Coach, HR Expert, salary negotiation whisperer, pay transparency and equity advocate. Founder of My Parental Leave and Moms at Work, Canada's largest organization committed to helping women earn more money, land better jobs and build community. Allison was named The Globe and Mail Report on Business Top 50 Changemakers 2022, is a regular speaker and media expert with over 100 interviews in 2021.

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