2020 pay equity audit

The following FAQ section is a reference tool to help you navigate the 2020 pay equity audit, which covers the period from December 21, 2015, to December 20, 2020. If you still have questions after reading these FAQs, don’t hesitate to contact the APTS provincial representative for your local team.


What is a pay equity audit?

Once the first pay equity exercise is done, the employer has an obligation to carry out an audit every five years to make sure that pay equity has been maintained.

The audit is carried out to see if events within the organization since the previous pay equity exercise have created pay gaps between predominantly female and predominantly male job classes. If that is the case, the audit will also identify necessary pay adjustments.


What are the different stages of a pay equity audit posting?

A pay equity audit posting consists of three different stages.

  1. A first 60-day posting. For the 2020 pay equity audit, this took place from December 21, 2023, to February 18, 2024.
  2. Analysis of responses received during the first posting, for a period of up to 30 days after the end of that posting. For the 2020 pay equity audit, this 30-day period will end no later than March 19, 2024.
  3. A second 60-day posting. For the 2020 pay equity audit, this second posting takes place from March 19 to May 18, 2024.

These different stages are explained in greater detail below.

What is the first posting?

After assessing whether or not pay equity has been maintained, the employer must post the results for a period of 60 days. The 2020 pay equity audit results were posted on December 21, 2023.

You can read the first posting here (in French):

The posting must include the following elements:

  1. A summary of the process that was used to assess pay equity maintenance.
  2. A summary of questions asked and observations made through the consultation measures that were included in the participation process (if any), and an explanation of how these questions and observations were addressed.
  3. A list of events that have generated pay adjustments, and, for each of these events, the date on which it began and the date on which it ended (if applicable); or, failing that, a notice that no adjustment is required.
  4. A list of predominantly female job classes that are entitled to pay adjustments, if any.
  5. The percentage or amount of adjustments to be paid, if any, and an explanation of how the payments will be made.
  6. The date of the first posting and information about the rights set out in the first paragraph of section 76.4 of the Pay Equity Act, as well as the time limits for exercising such rights.


Within 60 days after the date on which the pay equity audit results were first posted, any employee may submit a written request for additional information or may present their observations to the employer. In the first posting, the employer has included a link to a form to be used by people who want to exercise this right.

Within 30 days after the end of the first posting, the employer must carry out a second 60-day posting. This posting must be dated and must include a summary of additional information requested or observations made, as well as a description of the means established by the employer to address the questions or observations. The posting must specify what changes were made to the pay equity audit results, or, failing that, must include a statement that no change is needed.

The period of the first posting provides employees with an opportunity to try and influence the employer’s decision regarding its assessment of their job class.

For example, an employee might point out that the level of education required for their job has changed, and might ask the employer why this has not given rise to a different assessment. Rather than asking about the impact of the new educational requirement, the employee might say that in their opinion, the new requirement has not been taken into consideration by the employer; that it should have been taken into consideration; and that it should have an impact on the value of jobs in their job class.

The first posting is an opportunity for you to tell your employer about your view of the changes that have occurred in your job class, so that the employer can modify its assessment in the second posting. Some APTS members have already filed complaints with the CNESST in relation to the first posting. It’s important to keep in mind that the time has not yet come to contact the CNESST or file a complaint with it.

Does the APTS agree with the posting?

No. The employer chose to carry out the pay equity audit on its own, which it is allowed to do under the Pay Equity Act. This means that the APTS is not in any way tied to the results included in this posting.

Since the law was changed in 2019, employers who carry out pay equity audits on their own must in some cases – including ours – include a participation process. The CNESST explains the participation process as follows:

The participation process is intended to ensure that employees are informed about the process of assessing the maintenance of pay equity, and are involved in this process. The consultation must allow certified associations, employees, and those who represent them to ask questions and present observations reflecting their concerns, expectations, opinions, or suggestions [our translation].

The Treasury Board Secretariat carried out the participation process by asking questions of all labour organizations, but consultation was limited to this level of exchange.

How is it that following the participation process, the first posting did not take into consideration the events that we had submitted to our union?

As explained above, the participation process set out in the Pay Equity Act does not allow unions to do anything but ask questions of the employer. The posting, therefore, does not reflect a common vision shared by the union and the employer. Our questions/arguments could have influenced the employer’s analysis, but now that we have seen the first posting, we know that this did not happen.

If the second posting remains identical to the first, the APTS will contest the employer’s pay equity audit.

What is the second posting?

After the first posting, which allowed employees to express themselves on the point of view presented to them by the employer, the second posting provides the employer’s ultimate assessment of pay equity maintenance. In other words, the second posting is the employer’s final portrayal of the impact of any event that took place within the framework of its analysis of pay equity.

The second posting provides the basis for employees and unions to contest the employer’s pay equity audit by filing complaints. 


When will the second posting take place?

The employer has 30 days after the end of the first posting to review comments, questions and suggestions sent by employees, and make any changes it thinks are necessary.

After that, the employer must carry out a second posting that will last 60 days. This is what the employer did on March 19, 2024.

Information about the second posting (in French) is available here.


When and how can I file a complaint?

Complaints may be filed for a period of 60 days from the beginning of the second posting. This second posting took place on March 19, 2024, which means that the deadline for filing a complaint with the CNESST is May 18, 2024.

To access the second posting (in French), click here.

To access the complaint form, click here.

To help you file your complaint, we have added comments and explanations to the CNESST form. Click here for our annotated version of the form (it is an Acrobat Adobe Reader file).

We have also developed a guide to help you build your case and ensure you are ready to answer any questions on the part of the CNESST. Click here to access the guide.

Will the APTS file complaints?

The APTS will file a general union complaint covering all of the job classes it represents. After that, a rigorous analysis of all the information that has been collected will enable us to identify the job classes for which we will prepare arguments in order to make our case before the CNESST.


Why won’t the APTS take on the mandate of representing my individual complaint?

The fact that we are not taking individual mandates has no impact on the way we proceed with regard to complaints. If our analysis shows that there have been significant changes affecting your job class, we will take all necessary action through our general union complaint.

A complaint may be resolved in one of three ways: it can be withdrawn, a settlement can be reached with the employer, or the CNESST (which is the tribunal for these complaints) can hand down a decision. If the APTS agreed to take charge of individual mandates and then reached a settlement with the employer, we would have resolved your individual complaint even if you, personally, wanted to take it further. The same situation would arise if the APTS decided to withdraw a complaint.

We will keep you informed of all developments so that you can make the best possible decision about taking your complaint further.

Please note that any gains we achieve through our union complaint will be given to every employee in the relevant job class, whether or not they filed an individual complaint.

We believe this approach is more advantageous for our members than if we took a mandate to represent each individual complaint.