The province of Ontario is tackling pay transparency by introducing legislation that requires employers to track and publish information about compensation in their organizations.
The proposed legislation, if passed, will require all publicly advertised job postings to include a range or rate of salary, prohibit employers from inquiring about a job candidate’s past compensation and prohibit reprisals against employees who discuss or disclose their salary.
Another key facet of the legislation, announced on Tuesday, is the establishment of a framework that requires larger employers to track and report compensation gaps based on gender and diversity characteristics. The framework will be determined through consultation, according to the province, but once enacted, employers will be required to post the data publicly in their workplaces and report it to the province.
“Our government is committed to breaking down barriers to employment, closing the gender wage gap and helping to support all women in the economy,” said Kevin Flynn, Ontario’s minister of labour, in a news release.
The transparency legislation was informed by countries with similar laws, such as Australia, Britain and Germany, and the disclosure measures will begin with Ontario’s public service organizations. After the initial consultation, the new rules will apply to employers with more than 500 employees, followed by employers with more than 250 employees.
Ontario calls the legislation the central piece of the province’s strategy for women’s economic empowerment, which includes up to $50 million in funding over the three years. The strategy includes advocating for further enhancements to parental benefit entitlements; reinforcing measures to promote women in corporate leadership; increasing women’s access to training and mentorship opportunities; creating an Ontario women’s entrepreneurship association to better support women entrepreneurs; and launching a social awareness campaign to break down gender stereotypes and promote gender equality at work, home and in communities.
“It’s been more than 30 years since Ontario first passed pay equity legislation, but we are still working to close the gap,” said Premier Kathleen Wynne. “We know that too many women still face systemic barriers to economic advancement. When women face increased harassment, violence, poverty and discrimination, it hurts our society and our economy. It’s time for change.”