News Release - Canadian Human Rights Commission welcomes Canada’s first Pay Equity Commissioner
September 19, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Human Rights Commission
The Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) is pleased to welcome Karen Jensen, by Order in Council, as Canada’s first Pay Equity Commissioner.
Ms. Jensen is an experienced lawyer who has represented clients in human rights law, constitutional law, and employment and labour law cases for over 25 years. She has provided legal advice and representation before all levels of Canada’s courts and tribunals. She has investigated and advised organizations on diverse issues such as allegations of sexual harassment, professional misconduct, and compliance with constitutional, international and domestic human rights requirements.
Prior to her appointment as Pay Equity Commissioner, Ms. Jensen was a partner at Norton Rose Fulbright LLP, and was the National and Local (Ottawa) Chair of their Labour and Employment group.
Previously, she was assistant dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa, and taught dispute resolution. From 2005–2009, she was a full-time member of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, where she adjudicated and mediated human rights disputes. Ms. Jensen was also a legal counsel at the Commission, where she litigated human rights complaints before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and the Federal Court.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Winnipeg, a Masters in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Laws from Western University.
“Fundamental inequalities in pay still exist for far too many workers in Canada. The new Pay Equity Commissioner will help ensure that everyone within federal jurisdiction receives equal pay for work of equal value. It will benefit not only individuals and families, but the Canadian economy and society as a whole.”
– Marie-Claude Landry, Chief Commissioner, Canadian Human Rights Commission
- The Pay Equity Act (An Act to Establish a Proactive Pay Equity Regime within the Federal Public and Private Sectors) creates a proactive pay equity regime that will ensure that women and men working 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. Introduced on October 28, 2018, the legislation received Royal assent on December 13, 2018 and is expected to come into force in 2020.
- The Pay Equity Act will reduce the portion of the gender wage gap in federally regulated workplaces that is due to the undervaluation of work traditionally performed by women.