Ontario looking to introduce new 'pay transparency' legislation

Mar 6 2018, 11:35 pm

Ontario is officially the first province to tackle pay transparency.

The province announced on Tuesday that it will be introducing pay transparency legislation as part of a strategy to advance women’s economic empowerment in the workplace.

Unveiled by Premier Kathleen Wynne, Then Now Next: Ontario’s Strategy for Women’s Economic Empowerment includes the introduction of legislation to increase pay transparency by requiring certain employers to track and publish information about compensation in their organizations.

According to the province, the “multifaceted strategy will help remove long-standing barriers that have kept women from benefiting equally in Ontario’s rapidly changing economy.”

“It’s been more than 30 years since Ontario first passed pay equity legislation, but we are still working to close the gap. It’s time for change,” Wynne said in a statement. “Then Now Next: Ontario’s Strategy for Women’s Economic Empowerment shines a spotlight on compensation and improves conditions for everyone in Ontario applying for a job. Thanks to this first-of-its-kind strategy, we’re building a fairer, more dynamic, forward-thinking and prosperous Ontario – for everyone.”

If passed, the legislation introduced today would help ensure compensation is based on a job’s requirements and the candidate’s qualifications.

Specifically, the Government of Ontario outlined that it would:

  • Require all publicly advertised job postings to include a salary rate or range
  • Bar employers from asking a job candidate about their past compensation
  • Prohibit reprisals against employees who discuss or disclose compensation
  • Establish a framework to require larger employers to track and report compensation gaps based on gender and other diversity characteristics, to be determined through consultation.

The proposed legislation also includes up to $50 million in funding over three years.

The strategy would also advocate for further enhancements to parental benefit entitlements, reinforce measures to promote women in corporate leadership, and better support women entrepreneurs.

The gender wage gap in Ontario has remained stagnant for the last decade, with women earning around 30% less than men, according to the province. Improving gender equality in workplaces and society could add as much as $60 billion to Ontario’s GDP over the next decade.

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