The Government of Ontario has recently proposed new legislation, Bill 203, Pay Transparency Act, 2018, aimed at reducing the gender pay gap by changing the rules about disclosing compensation information for existing and prospective employees.
The legislation, which passed the first reading on March 6, has four main components that may or may not apply to all employers.
Seeking Compensation History of Applicants – All Employers
The first component is applicable to all employers and states that employers are prohibited from requesting information on what a job applicant made before in previous jobs. This includes seeking information directly from the applicant or through an agent, such as a placement agency.
However, applicants are free to disclose this information voluntarily to a potential employer if they are so inclined. Employers are also welcome to seek information about suitable ranges of compensation for comparable positions to establish an appropriate wage.
Compensation Information on Job Postings – All Employers
All employers would be required to include a range of expected compensation for a position when publicly posting a job advertisement.
Pay Transparency Reports – Prescribed Employers
“Prescribed” employers will be required to prepare and submit pay transparency reports to the Ministry of Labour. These rules would first apply to Ontario Public Service, then to employers of 500+, followed by employers of 250+.
As stated in the proposed Bill, this report would include information on “workforce composition and differences in compensation in the employer’s workforce with respect to gender and other prescribed characteristics.”
Employers would be required to post this report in a place accessible by all employees. Additionally, the Ministry would have the right to publish this report (hard-copy or online) to make it available to the public.
Anti-reprisal Protection – All Employers
An employee would have the right to ask their employer questions that relate to the regulations within the Bill without reprisal. This includes requesting information about their compensation or the pay transparency report. They would also be free to disclose information about their pay to another employee without being penalized.
If passed, the Bill would come into force in January 2019. However, with an upcoming election and more readings to be passed before it is enacted, now is the time for employers to express their thoughts and opinions. Contact your local Chamber of Commerce or write your MPP to share your input.
Disclaimer: This article is intended for general information only and is not intended as legal opinion or advice. The views and opinions expressed do not reflect the official position of BNG Bossy Nagy Group or any other affiliate.
Douglas, E. (2018, March 14). Will the ‘Pay Transparency Act’ impact your organization? HRD Canada, Retrieved from https://www.hrmonline.ca/hr-news/employment-law/will-the-pay-transparency-act-impact-your-organization-239096.aspx
Bill 203, Pay Transparency Act, 2018. (n.d.). Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Retrieved from http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_detail.do?locale=en&BillID=5735&detailPage=bills_detail_the_bill#BK8