Government of Canada announces that the Pay Equity Act will come into force on August 31, 2021

News release

July 7, 2021              Gatineau, Quebec              Employment and Social Development Canada

The implementation of the Pay Equity Act is an important part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to close the gender wage gap and ensure that workers receive equal pay for work of equal value. It will put into place long-term, sustainable changes that will ensure that women’s work is valued and compensated fairly, now and into the future. This is especially significant as the Government of Canada works to ensure an inclusive economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, the Minister of Labour, Filomena Tassi, announced that the Government will bring the Pay Equity Act into force on August 31, 2021, and that the final Pay Equity Regulations are now available in Part II of the Canada Gazette. The announcement was made in the context of a virtual discussion about the future of pay equity in Canada with the Minister of Labour and the Pay Equity Commissioner, Karen Jensen, on Facebook Live.

The Pay Equity Regulations will support the implementation of the Pay Equity Act, together ensuring that workers in federally regulated workplaces receive equal pay for work of equal value.

Once in force, employers with 10 or more employees will have three years to develop and implement their proactive pay equity plans. The Pay Equity Commissioner will be responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Act and its Regulations and she will continue to work closely with federally regulated private- and public-sector workplace parties to provide support and guidance on the implementation of this proactive pay equity regime. 

Long-standing gender inequities have only been amplified over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic and have put decades of hard-fought gains for women in the workplace at risk. Implementing proactive pay equity is in addition to other important changes the Government has made to create workplaces that are more fair, safe and inclusive, such as new pay transparency requirements and a strengthened federal framework that protects workers from harassment and violence. When hard-working Canadians can count on equal pay for work of equal value, our economy grows stronger.


“Everyone deserves an equal opportunity to succeed—and that means paying women equally for work of equal value. Today’s announcement that the Pay Equity Act will be coming into force at the end of this summer is a significant step forward towards reducing the gender wage gap and creating the kinds of long-term, sustainable change that will enable all workers to succeed in our workplaces for generations to come. It is not just the right thing to do; it is the smart thing to do.”
– Minister of Labour, Filomena Tassi 

“The Government of Canada is committed to pay equity and to setting the standard for gender equality in the workplace as we continue to work toward economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Simply put, when women prosper, we all succeed.”
– President of the Treasury Board, Jean-Yves Duclos

“The Pay Equity Act is essential to closing the gender wage gap, advancing gender equality and promoting workplaces where every employee is valued and engaged. Greater equity and inclusion in Canadian workplaces will make businesses and the economy stronger and more resilient.”
– Pay Equity Commissioner, Karen Jensen

Quick facts

  • The Pay Equity Act was introduced as part of Bill C-86, the Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2. It received royal assent in December 2018. Once in force on August 31, 2021, the proactive pay equity regime set out in the Pay Equity Act and supporting regulations will ensure that women and men in federally regulated workplaces, including the federal public and private sectors, parliamentary workplaces and the Prime Minister’s and ministers’ offices, receive equal pay for work of equal value. 

  • To ensure the Act is best suited for workplaces operated by Indigenous governing bodies within the federal jurisdiction, the Act and Regulations will not automatically apply to Indigenous governing bodies as employers. They will not be subject to the application of the Act until a date the Governor in Council may, by order, specify. Further consultations are planned in the coming year with Indigenous partners so that any necessary adaptations to the regime can be made to ensure that proactive pay equity is a success in these workplaces.

  • On November 13, 2020, the Government published the proposed Pay Equity Regulations in Part I of the Canada Gazette to provide interested parties with the opportunity to review and provide feedback during a 60‑day comment period.

  • On October 16, 2019, Karen Jensen was appointed as a full-time member of the Canadian Human Rights Commission. She was reappointed, effective October 1, 2020. Once the Act comes into force, Ms. Jensen’s appointment provides for her to become the first federal pay equity commissioner, who will oversee the new regime.

  • Based on the most recent data, in Canada, for every dollar earned by a man, a woman earns 89 cents, as measured in hourly wages for full-time and part-time workers. 

Associated links


For media enquiries, pleace contact:

Rachel Rappaport
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Labour, Filomena Tassi

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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