Pay Transparency Laws in B.C.: Promoting Equity and Fighting Systemic Discrimination

On March 7, 2023, the British Columbia government introduced the Pay Transparency Act, a new legislation aimed at promoting equity and fighting systemic discrimination in the workplace. The Act places new requirements on employers, including restrictions on pay history inquiries and a mandate to include expected pay or pay range in job postings. Additionally, it requires certain employers to complete and post pay transparency reports that show pay gaps for specific groups. This blog discusses the need for the Pay Transparency Act and its key provisions.

Why Pay Transparency is Needed

In British Columbia, women continue to earn less than men. According to the Gender Equity Office, women in B.C. earned 17% less than men last year. The Pay Transparency Act seeks to address this gender pay gap and other forms of discrimination by increasing transparency and accountability in pay practices. This is in line with the government’s commitment to promoting gender equity and advancing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Key Provisions of the Pay Transparency Act

Pay History: Employers can no longer ask job applicants about their pay history at previous positions with other employers. Employers can still use pay history information they already have about that employee to determine the pay for a new position and rely on publicly accessible information on the pay for similar positions.

Job Postings: As of November 1, 2023, employers must include the expected pay or the expected pay range for a specific job opportunity that they advertise publicly. This is intended to increase transparency in the hiring process and allow job seekers to make more informed decisions.

Pay Secrecy: Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who ask about their pay, reveal their pay to others, or provide information about their employer to the Director of Pay Transparency.

Pay Transparency Report: Employers above a specific size must complete and post pay transparency reports that show pay gaps for certain groups. This requirement will apply in stages over the next four years, starting with the B.C. government and the six largest Crown corporations on November 1, 2023. An online reporting tool will assist employers in preparing the report, and details on what must be included are being developed in collaboration with the B.C. Public Service Agency and the six largest Crown corporations.

Contact Kent Employment Law Today

The Pay Transparency Act is an essential step toward promoting equity and fighting systemic discrimination in the workplace. Increasing transparency in pay practices will help close the gender pay gap and promote employee fairness.

If you are an employee or employer with questions about the new Pay Transparency Act or any other employment-related matter, contact Kent Employment Law today and speak to a lawyer.

Sources:

CBC News. (March 7, 2023). B.C. introduces pay transparency act aimed at promoting equity, fighting discrimination. Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/pay-transparency-bc-legislation-1.5958614

Government of British Columbia. (March 7, 2023). Pay transparency laws in B.C. Retrieved from https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/gender-equity/pay-transparency-laws-in-bc

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