B.C. introduces new pay transparency legislation to help close gender wage gap

Click to play video: 'B.C. government introduces legislation to close pay gap'
B.C. government introduces legislation to close pay gap
WATCH: It's a major piece of legislation the province hopes will start closing the pay gap between men and women in British Columbia. Richard Zussman has what it looks like and why it's going to take some time to come. – Mar 7, 2023

The province has introduced new legislation requiring employers to include salary ranges on job postings, and banning employers from asking applicants for pay history information.

In an effort to help close the gender pay gap in the province, employers will also not be allowed to punish employees who disclose their pay to co-workers or potential job applicants.

In addition, B.C. employers will gradually be required to publicly post reports on their gender pay gap.

It will start this November with Public Service Agency and big Crown corps, including ICBC, BC Hydro, WorkSafeBC, BC Housing, BC Lottery Corporation and BC Transit.

All employers with 1,000 employees or more will be required to post reports by November 2024, those with 300 employees or more in November 2025, and all employers with over 50 employees will be required to by November 2026.

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“People deserve equal pay for equal work. We’ve been taking action to close the pay gap since 2017 with investments in child care and training, and increases to the minimum wage. Today, we’re taking the next step – all employers need to be transparent about what people are being paid to close the pay gap between men and women,” said Kelli Paddon, parliamentary secretary for gender equity.

“We’re determined to continue our engagement with all of our partners to close the pay gap and ensure people get the fair payment they deserve.”

The legislation introduced Tuesday follows engagement with Indigenous partners, business associations, organized labour, employee associations, employment and legal advocates, municipalities, and the non-profit and public sectors.

The goal is also to ensure that addressing the pay gap goes beyond the gender binary, a first of its kind approach according to the province.

The pay gap also disproportionately impacts Indigenous women, women of colour and immigrant women, as well as women with disabilities and non-binary people.

According to Statistics Canada, in 2022 women in B.C. earned 17 per cent less than men. Average hourly wages for men were $35.50 while women earned an average wage of $29.53 per hour, with the gap increasing for Indigenous, racialized and newcomer women.

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Statistics Canada says Indigenous women working full time earned an average of $26.74 per hour, visible minority women earned an average of $27.44 per hour and Immigrant women earned an average of $28.78 per hour.

The Ministry of Finance will publish an annual report each year on gender pay in the province and more regulations are being developed for employers in order to provide them with more details on the reporting requirements.

With new reporting regulations, B.C. will also look at ways demographic data can be safely collected from employees.

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