Ontario Passes Pay Transparency Law to Help Narrow The Gender Pay Gap

Did you know Ontario is the first province to pass new pay transparency legislation designed to help close the gender pay gap?

You might be asking, “what does this mean for me?” Here’s what you need to know, whether you’re an employer or an employee.

The goal of the legislation, that passed Third Reading in April 2018, is to increase transparency in hiring processes and give women more information when negotiating compensation that is equal to their male peers.

The legislation is the central piece of Then Now Next: Ontario’s Strategy for Women’s Economic Empowerment, which will help remove long-standing barriers that have kept women from benefiting equally in Ontario’s rapidly changing economy.

The provincial government says, on average, women earn 30 per cent less than men, and that number hasn’t changed in the last 10 years.

As of Jan. 1, 2019, employers will be required by the Pay Transparency Act, 2018, to publish salary ranges on all publicly advertised job postings and it also means potential employees cannot be asked about their compensation history. Employees may also discuss or disclose their compensation without fear of reprisals from their employer.

Companies will also have to track and report their pay practices within their workplaces, and to the Ministry of Labour.

“This new legislation is part of our overall commitment to fairness in Ontario’s workplaces and will help ensure that women and other groups are treated equitably,” Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn said in a statement issued from the provincial government.

“The Pay Transparency Act, 2018 will aid us in narrowing the gender wage gap.”

The measures will begin with the Ontario Public Service sector. Following consultation, these measures will be rolled out to employers with over 250 employees in 2020, extending to those with more than 100 employees in 2021. The idea is to shine a light on the practices of a majority of businesses in Ontario and set a standard for all workplaces to follow.

“Pay transparency legislation will not only highlight pay inequities, it will help shift attitudes and biases that prevent women from achieving equal pay for equal work,” Harinder Malhi, Minister of the Status of Women, said in a statement about the new legislation.

Have questions? Don’t hesitate to contact the experts at Employment Professionals Canada to find the answers you’re looking for.