woman sitting in front of laptopOn March 6, 2018, Ontario Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn introduced Bill 203 the Pay Transparency Act, 2018. It has passed first reading and is in the process of making its way through the legislative process. While the Bill is not law yet, it would introduce several measures aimed at further closing the wage gap between male and female workers.

Increasing Pay Transparency

The Bill is all about pay transparency, which would be increased by:

  • Prohibiting employers from seeking compensation history information from applicants;
  • Requiring that publicly advertised job postings include an expected salary range;
  • Requiring large employers (initially, those with more than 500 employees) to prepare “pay transparency reports.” These reports would be submitted to the Ministry, and track and report compensation gaps based on gender and other prescribed characteristics. There would also be a requirement that they be conspicuously posted in the workplace;
  • Prohibiting reprisals against employees who disclose or ask about compensation, or ask the employer to comply with the Act.
  • Enforcement of the Act by:
    • Allowing compliance officers to conduct workplace audits; and
    • Imposing financial penalties on employers who contravene the Act.

Existing Pay Equity Measures in Ontario

The new pay transparency measures would dovetail with the Equal Pay for Equal Work requirement in the Employment Standards Act. This requirement dictates that employees performing substantially the same kind of work, in the same establishment, requiring the same skill, effort and responsibility and working under similar conditions cannot be paid differently based on their sex. When the Bill 148 amendment to this section comes into force on April 1, 2018, these Equal Pay for Equal Work provisions will extend protection from sex to differences in employment status. To read more about these changes check out our Bill 148 posts.

Ontario also has the Pay Equity Act which address systemic issues with lower pay for women in female dominant industries. The Pay Equity Act attempts to ensure that women receive equitable pay to men for performing different jobs of equal value.

Finally, if you’re  looking for a great example of pay inequity that reduces the issue down to the basics and from the perspective of kids, here’s a 2:36 minute video worth watching: Norway Child Experiment about Gender Equality. The baffled, free-from-politics look on the kids’ faces when they do the same job but the girls get less candy than the boys is classic.

We will keep an eye on Bill 203 as it moves through parliament and post updates as the Bill progresses towards becoming law. If you have any questions about pay equity in your workplace get in touch. We would be pleased to assist.