Bronwyn Watters becomes NWT’s equal pay commissioner

The NWT legislature has appointed Bronwyn Watters, a former deputy minister of human resources, as the territory’s new equal pay commissioner.

A formal motion to appoint Watters passed in the legislature on Tuesday. She replaces Joy Noonan, who served as commissioner for the past four years.

The equal pay commissioner is “responsible for ensuring that the right to equal pay for work of equal value in the Public Service Act is protected,” the legislature said in a news release.


“That right applies to employees in the NWT public service and the NWT Power Corporation, and to teachers. It requires their employers to pay all employees who perform work of equal value the same rate of pay, regardless of sex. The commissioner receives and investigates complaints about the right to equal pay for work of equal value.”

That beat has recently been a quiet one.

In her final report to the legislature, outgoing commissioner Noonan said she had received only one complaint during her term. That complaint was “ultimately found to involve a question of possible misclassification, not equal pay as defined in this mandate.”

However, Noonan said the newly introduced federal Pay Equity Act – while not set to directly impact the GNWT – would provide “renewed focus on pay equity … and we will want to be informed and ready.”

Watters served in the GNWT for 35 years, rising to become the deputy minister of justice and human resources. She served on the NWT Human Rights Commission from 2012 until 2015 and is a member of the Legal Aid Commission.