Ontario First Province to Pass Pay Transparency Legislation
Changes will Advance Women's Economic Empowerment and Build Fairer, Better Workplaces
Ontario passed legislation today to increase transparency in hiring processes and give women more information when negotiating compensation that is equal to their male peers, making Ontario the first province in Canada to do so.
Starting on January 1, 2019, Ontario will:
- 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. Once fully implemented, these measures would require employers to publicly post that data within their own workplaces, in addition to reporting them to the province
The province's pay transparency disclosure measures will begin with the Ontario Public Service. Following consultation, the proposed new rules will then apply to employers with more than 250 employees in 2020, and will extend to those with more than 100 employees in 2021. This will shine a light on the practices of the majority of Ontario businesses and will set the standard for all workplaces to follow.
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.
Making wages fairer for everyone is part of the government's plan for fairness, and providing care and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, and free preschool childcare from 2 ½ to kindergarten.
- Then Now Next: Ontario’s Strategy for Women’s Economic Empowerment builds on existing government efforts to create fairness and opportunity for women, including a $15 minimum wage in 2019, new workplace leave of up to 17 weeks for survivors of domestic or sexual violence with five days of paid leave, a $242 million investment in It’s Never Okay: Ontario’s Gender-Based Violence Strategy and our government’s plan to build 100,000 new child care spaces.
- Improving gender equality in workplaces and society could add as much as $60 billion to Ontario’s GDP over the next decade.
- The gender wage gap in Ontario has remained stagnant for the last decade, with women earning around 30 per cent less than men. Indigenous women earn 25 per cent less than Indigenous men, 43 per cent less than non-Indigenous men, and 20 per cent less than non-Indigenous women. Racialized women earn 23 per cent less than racialized men, 42 per cent less than non-racialized men, and 15 per cent less than non-racialized women.
- Ontario’s pay transparency legislation was informed by other jurisdictions with similar laws in place, including the United Kingdom, Australia and Germany.
- The strategy plans to leverage Ontario’s buying power to encourage gender equity when selecting vendors for government work.
“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. The Pay Transparency Act, 2018 will aid us in narrowing the gender wage gap.”
“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.”