About the Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal

What is the Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal?
The Pay Equity Act established the Tribunal to hear and decide pay equity disputes. The Tribunal has exclusive jurisdiction to determine all questions of fact or law that arise in any matter before it. The decisions of the Tribunal are final and conclusive for all purposes.

The Tribunal is a quasi-judicial body. This means that, while it operates in many ways similar to a court, there are important differences. Like a court the Tribunal is impartial, is independent of government and must provide all parties with a fair hearing and fair process.

Unlike a court, the Tribunal's decision-makers are appointed for their specialised expertise in labour and employment law, compensation systems, and pay equity. In making its decisions the Tribunal must consider the specific issues in dispute between the parties in the context of the policy objectives of the Pay Equity Act. The Tribunal's proceedings are expected to be less formal, less expensive, and more expeditious than court proceedings.

Who is the Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal?
The Tribunal consists of a presiding officer, one or more deputy presiding officers and as many other members equal in number representative of employers and employees respectively as the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers proper, all of whom shall be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

The Tribunal hears its cases in tripartite panels. Each panel consists of the presiding officer (or deputy presiding officer), a member representative of employers and a member representative of employees. The members of the Tribunal bring their specialized expertise and understanding of pay equity, compensation practices and labour relations to the hearing process. The Chair and Vice-Chairs are lawyers, often with extensive experience as counsel and adjudicators before the courts and other tribunals. At present, the Chair and Vice Chairs also hold appointments to the Ontario Labour Relations Board. In addition, the employer and employee representatives are expected to bring the perspective of their particular constituency into the Tribunal's decision-making. They are not advocates for individual parties but they ensure that the Tribunal's decison-making is fully informed. The panel determines the issues in dispute based on the evidence given and the arguments made by the parties.

The Registrar is responsible for communicating with the parties, scheduling hearings and for the administration of the Tribunal.
The Act
The Pay Equity Act, R.S.O. 1990, c.P.7, as amended, is available on the Province of Ontario's E-Laws website (www.e-laws.gov.on.ca).

The Act and the Proxy Sections

The E-laws version of the Act does not contain Part III.2 or other sections of the Act describing the proxy method of comparison.

In 1996 the Legislature repealed the proxy provisions of the Act (S.O. 1996, c.1, schedule J, s.1.). The Service Employees International Union challenged the repeal before the Ontario Court on the basis that it contravened sections 15 and 28 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Court agreed with the Union and ruled that the repeal was unconstitutional and of no force and effect. (SEIU, Local 201 v. Ontario (Attorney-General) (1997), 35 O.R. (3d) 508).

However, while the Court's ruling restored the proxy provisions to full effect, the Legislature has not amended the Act to reintroduce the repealed sections into the statute. Understandably, this situation has caused some confusion. To address this problem, the Tribunal has reproduced the missing provisions for use together with the official version of the Act.

WARNING: This reproduction is provided for your assistance and convenience only. Please refer to the Pay Equity Amendment Act, 1993 (S.O. 1993, c.4) which remains the official version.

Go to Proxy sections