On 7 March 2023 - a day before International Women's Day - the British Columbia Government introduced new pay transparency legislation “to help close the gender pay gap” in British Columbia. Touted as “the next step on the path to pay equity” the proposed legislation is intended to address inequalities associated with the reported 17% wage gap between men and women in the province, a gap that widens with respect to Indigenous women, women of colour, immigrant women, women with disabilities, and non-binary people.
Wage discrimination is already prohibited under section 12 of the British Columbia Human Rights Code. The proposed pay transparency legislation supplements the current complaint-based system with pro-active reporting and transparency requirements. A first for Canada, the proposed legislation is also intended to address the pay gap with respect to non-binary people.
If the proposed legislation becomes law:
- Effective on the date the proposed legislation comes into force, all public and private-sector employers in British Columbia will be prohibited from asking job candidates for pay history information. Employers will also be prohibited from “punishing” employees who disclose their pay to co-workers or job candidates;
- Commencing 1 November 2023, all public and private-sector employers in British Columbia will be required to post wage or salary ranges on publicly advertised jobs; and
- Starting 1 November 2023, wage reporting will be gradually introduced, starting with the British Columbia Public Service Agency and Crown Corporations with more than 1000 employees. Requirements for all other employers are anticipated as follows:
- starting 1 November 2024, employers with 1,000 employees or more;
- starting 1 November 2025, employers with 300 employees or more; and
- starting 1 November 2026, employers with 50 employees or more.
The Ministry of Finance will publish an annual report regarding the gender pay gap on 1 June of each year. Regulations providing further particulars about reporting requirements are anticipated, including in respect of the safe collection of demographic data.
The Government News Release can be accessed here.