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B.C. government to consult groups on new legislation to help close gender pay gap

Click to play video: 'Fight for pay equity continues in B.C.' Fight for pay equity continues in B.C.
The fight for equal pay is top of mind on both sides of the political aisle today, as the province and opposition say they're both committed to closing the gap. As Grace Ke reports, British Columbia is one of the only provinces to not have any legislation in place – Mar 8, 2022

The B.C. government is beginning public consultation on new pay transparency legislation that aims to help close a longstanding gender pay gap in the province.

The consultation, launched in time with International Women’s Day, will work to “address systemic discrimination in the workplace” and when legislation is tabled, bring B.C. closer to “equal pay for equal work.”

“In B.C., women continue to make less, on average, than men,” said Grace Lore, parliamentary secretary for gender equity in a Tuesday news release.

“Indigenous women, women of colour, immigrant women, and Two-Spirit, non-binary and transgender people also face barriers that others do not.”

Read more: International Women’s Day: Meet 5 extraordinary advocates working to uplift women in B.C.

The announcement comes on the same day BC Liberal MLA Stephanie Cadieux introduced equal pay legislation in the legislature for the fifth time.

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According to the document she tabled, women in B.C. continue to earn 18.6 per cent less than men and that on average, women earn $5.90 less per hour than men.

“This is the largest pay gap in Canada and this is simply unacceptable,” Cadieux said.

“As we look towards economic recovery, women need to play a key role and we cannot expect the full participation of women in our economy without equal pay.”

Click to play video: 'International Women’s Day: Diverse Leadership' International Women’s Day: Diverse Leadership
International Women’s Day: Diverse Leadership – Mar 8, 2022

If passed, the bill would require businesses of a certain sizes to report wage disparity between male and female employees.

The Liberals argue this would encourage businesses to close the pay gap and provide support for female employees to negotiate equal wages.

British Columbia is one of four provinces without either pay transparency or pay equity legislation, along with Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

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Read more: Canadian companies need pay transparency to address wage gap, advocates say

The consultations will begin in the spring with Indigenous groups, public and private employer groups, business and union organizations, equity-seeking organizations and others, as well as employers who have already established their own pay transparency policies.

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