On March 6, 2018, the Hon. Kevin Flynn, Ontario Minister of Labour, introduced legislation entitled Bill 203, Pay Transparency Act, 2018. Bill 203 is part of a government initiative in Ontario to close the wage gap between women and men in the province.
If passed, Bill 203 would introduce several measures intended to close the gender wage gap by increasing the “pay transparency” of Ontario workplaces. These measures include:
- Requiring all publicly advertised job postings to include an expected salary rate or range;
- Barring employers from asking about a job applicant’s compensation history;
- Prohibiting reprisal against employees who disclose or make inquiries about compensation;
- Requiring large employers (initially, those with more than 500 employees) to track and report compensation gaps based on gender and other prescribed diversity characteristics, and to disclose the information to the province;
- Allowing for compliance officers to conduct workplace audits; and
- Imposing financial penalties on employers who contravene the Act.
Closing the gender wage gap has increasingly become a focus of government at both the provincial and federal levels. The introduction of Bill 203 closely follows the release of the 2018 Federal Budget on February 27, 2018, which included a commitment from the federal government to implement gender-based pay-equity legislation for employees in federally-regulated sectors.