BC’s Gender Pay Gap Addressed with New Government Legislation
New pay transparency legislation was introduced March 7, 2023, to help close the gender pay gap in B.C. – the next step on the path to pay equity.
Upon the passing of legislation on November 1, 2023, all employers in British Columbia will be mandated to include wage or salary ranges on all publicly advertised job postings. In addition, employers will be prohibited from requesting pay history information from potential employees or retaliating against employees who share their pay with co-workers or job applicants, actions that are known to perpetuate the gender pay gap.
According to Kelli Paddon, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity, the implementation of this legislation is a crucial step in closing the pay gap between genders, a problem that has been addressed since 2017 through investments in child care, training, and minimum wage increases. However, this work is not finished, and the government remains committed to working with partners to ensure fair payment for all individuals.
Starting in November 2023, employers in British Columbia will gradually be required to publicly report on their gender pay gap, with the requirement being introduced in stages based on the number of employees. The Ministry of Finance will publish an annual report on gender pay by June 1 each year.
Regulations are being developed to provide employers with additional information on reporting requirements for the pay gap, with a goal of ensuring that addressing the pay gap goes beyond the gender binary. British Columbia aims to be the first Canadian jurisdiction to adopt this approach.
It is essential to note that pay discrimination, including the gender pay gap, is prohibited in British Columbia under the Human Rights Code. Employees experiencing discrimination can file a claim with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.
The development of pay transparency legislation followed engagement with various partners, including Indigenous partners, business associations, organized labour, employee associations, employment and legal advocates, municipalities, and the non-profit and public sectors. British Columbia acknowledges that pay discrimination disproportionately affects Indigenous women, women of colour, immigrant women, women with disabilities, and non-binary individuals, and is exploring ways to safely collect demographic data through the Gender and Sex Data Standard and Anti-Racism Data Act.
Timeline for pay equity compliance in BC for publicly advertised job postings
Commencing in November 2023, upon the legislation's passage, British Columbia employers will be gradually required to publicly disclose reports on their gender pay gap. The introduction of this requirement will occur in stages, based on the number of employees, to afford employers sufficient time to prepare. The stages are as follows:
- November 1, 2023: BC Public Service Agency and Crown corporations with more than 1,000 employees (ICBC, BC Hydro, WorkSafeBC, BC Housing, BC Lottery Corporation, and BC Transit).
- November 1, 2024: All employers with 1,000 or more employees.
- November 1, 2025: All employers with 300 or more employees.
- November 1, 2026: All employers with 50 or more employees.
Statistics Canada reports that in 2022, women in British Columbia earned 17% less than their male counterparts. Men, on average, received an hourly wage of $35.50, whereas women received $29.53. The gender pay gap is even more substantial for Indigenous, racialized, and newcomer women, with full-time Indigenous women earning $26.74 per hour on average, visible minority women earning $27.44 per hour on average, and immigrant women earning $28.78 per hour on average, as per Statistics Canada's data.
To view Statistics Canada gender wage stats for 2022: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=1410034002
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