Compensation is complex!

It takes into consideration organizational (e.g., budget, affordability, funding rules), internal (e.g., internal alignment, equity amongst colleagues, transparency, fairness), external (e.g., other employers pay practices, cost of living, inflation, economy, labour market forces) and individual factors (e.g., expectations of pay, experience and education, cost of living where employee resides). Everything from an employee’s expectations of what they should be paid to what other employers in the marketplace get paid to what the organization can afford. It is not simple but it’s important to have some strategy and procedural practice in place that drives your compensation decisions.

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To help you get started please review the information in this section of the site. Given the complexity we also recommend working in conjunction with an OPRAH Consultant where you are designing a program from scratch.

Note: For unionized organizations, many factors related to compensation decisions will be outlined in your collective agreement. Any changes would need to be addressed during bargaining.

Designing Compensation Programs

Compensation programs should consider many different factors, including:

  • Type of work
  • Scope of authority and responsibility
  • Tenure (also a retention and recognition strategy)
  • Experience, education and specialty designations
  • Internal equity
  • External variables
  • Budget and funding guidelines/parameters

Before designing your compensation program(s) an organization should also determine what types of cash compensation and benefits (see Benefits section of the website) that will comprise their total compensation. Forms of compensation may include:

  • Base salary
  • Merit pay or pay-for-performance
  • Cost of living adjustments
  • Short-term incentives (e.g., one-time bonus)
  • Long-term incentives (e.g., movement on a grid based on years of service)
  • Bonus payments

For base salary, it’s important to determine if there will be a designated salary or a range an employee can work through during their employment. Whether a base salary or a range, you will need to outline when and how salaries are reviewed and determined and in the case of a range how an employee can successfully move through the range.

Compensation and Benefits Surveys
The OAN has conducted compensation and benefits surveys within the sector. The final reports are attached in the resources section of this webpage.

Compensation Guide
This tool is a generic example providing a starting point to develop your agencies compensation guidelines, practices and policies. This document includes many different options of what compensation programs include. The document should be tailored to your organization – how you compensate, what is affordable, when you review compensation programs, compensation values, etc.
For assistance in working with this tool please contact an OPRAH Consultant.
 Pay Equity
Organizations in Ontario must ensure that compensation policies and practices comply with the Pay Equity Act. Please refer to the Legislation section of the website for more information.

 Other Resources
There are other salary/compensation/benefits surveys available at a cost. From time to time the OPRAH program will try to review one or more of such resources (e.g., Charity Village salary report; Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE); The Boland Survey, etc.).
To discuss other resources that you may wish to research or access please contact an OPRAH Consultant.


Benefits plans come in a variety of shapes and sizes