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

The Ordre des conseillers en resources humaines agréés reminds employers and their HR professionals that the countdown has started for 65,844 companies in Quebec. Many of them now have 365 days to comply with the province’s 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.

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.

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," notes Francoeur.

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.

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," concludes Francoeur.

The Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés is the primary reference organization in its field in Quebec. It has a membership of close to 9,500 professionals, candidates and students, including 5,000 CHRPs and 2,500 CIRCs. It is the only organization devoted to the protection of the public authorized by the professional code to confer these professional designations.

Active in all sectors, CHRPs and CIRCS contribute to the development and maintenance of a healthy working atmosphere and a safe, efficient organizational environment that respects the uniqueness of each and every employee. They also represent employers and employees in various areas of HR management, from industrial relations, to staffing, training, occupational health and safety, organizational development and compensation.

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