Everything you need to know about BC’s new pay transparency law

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The government of British Columbia has introduced Bill 13 (the “Bill”), containing proposed legislation for pay transparency. The Bill’s stated purpose is to identify and eliminate pay differences among groups of workers and address systemic discrimination in the workplace. The Bill will require employers to publicly disclose information about compensation for employees of different genders. Employers will also be required to publicly post reports on the gender pay gap within their organizations.

B.C. is one of four provinces without either pay transparency or pay equity legislation. In 2021, men in British Columbia earned roughly 20 percent more per hour of work than women, which is one of the largest gender wage gaps in Canada, according to Statistics Canada.

The proposed Pay Transparency Act is primarily aimed at reducing the gender pay gap, but it also seeks to address pay gaps beyond the gender binary, specifically referring to pay gaps for Indigenous women, women of colour, immigrant women, women with disabilities, and non-binary people, suggesting that information broader than just gender will need to be collected and reported. This broader approach recognizes that pay inequality is not limited to gender and that other forms of discrimination can also lead to pay disparities in the workforce.

These requirements will be phased in over several years, starting with the public service agency and Crown corporations, followed by employers with more than 1,000 employees in 2024, employers with more than 300 employees in 2025 and employers with more than 50 employees in 2026.

In addition, the legislation also includes provisions to prohibit employers from asking job applicants about their pay history and to require employers to include the expected pay or pay range for a job opportunity in publicly advertised job postings as of November 1, 2023. However, employers may still use the pay history information they already have about that employee to determine the pay for a new position or rely on publicly accessible information on the pay for similar positions.

The legislation seeks to prohibit employers from taking retaliatory action against employees who inquire about pay or disclose their own pay to others. Employers cannot dismiss, suspend, demote, discipline or harass an employee who asks their employer about their pay, reveals their pay to another employee or someone applying to work with their employer.

All employers in British Columbia, with the exception of those covered by the federal Employment Equity Act, will be required to follow these rules.

Labour Rights Law will continue to monitor Bill 13. In the meantime, if you are an employee who feels you are not being paid fairly, you may have a claim of discrimination under the BC Human Rights CodeSchedule an appointment with one of our lawyers today to assist you in filing a claim with the BC Human Rights Tribunal.

DISCLAIMER: The content of this article, and this website generally, is not intended as legal advice and cannot be relied upon as legal advice.  To provide legal advice on your problem, a lawyer must first understand your specific situation.

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