Premier Christy Clark has promised to end the practice of female restaurant staff being forced to wear high heels on the job, after BC Green Party leader, Andrew Weaver, said he’d table a private member’s bill on the issue.
Weaver told various media outlets last week that some restaurants’ requirement that female staff wear high heels at work was outdated and unsafe.
“I couldn’t believe that in British Columbia in 2017, there are restaurants and bars that require women to wear high heels,” Green Party leader Andrew Weaver told Global News. “It’s not safe because you’re walking around in a greasy-floored kitchen. It’s not healthy because you’re standing up for nine hours putting pressure on your back in funny ways as well as your feet.”
On Sunday, Clark announced her support, saying:
“In some workplaces in B.C., women are still required to wear high heels on the job. This isn’t just old-fashioned; in 2017, it’s unacceptable. I agree with Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head and the BC Restaurant & Foodservices Association that this practice needs to stop. Government will take action to do exactly that.”
Clark’s press secretary Steven Smart told Global News she has already asked the Ministry of Labour to look at ways to end the requirement, whether it’s through legislation or regulation.
The BC NDP have also pledged to support the motion.
WATCH: Green Party leader Andrew Weaver says B.C. should outlaw requirements by some restaurants that female servers wear high-heeled shoes. Jennifer Palma reports.
The requirement that female staff wear high heels on the job is common in B.C. restaurants but has been deemed unfair, unsafe and sexist by some critics.
Former server Simran Gill told Global News her feet would be covered in blisters and often bloody after working in heels, a dress code that was mandated by her employer. The pain caused her to quit her job after only four months.
“My feet were in so much pain from the attire I had to wear, that I literally could not take the job. The money just wasn’t worth it,” Gill said.
She said the issue was so ingrained in company culture that the restaurant where she worked provided band-aids that matched the female servers’ dresses.
-With files from Jennifer Palma