Ontario Unveils Controversial Pay Transparency Bill
With the Ontario business community already dismayed by the recent amendments to the Employment Standards Act, 2000, which among other things increased the Provincial minimum wage, the Wynne government’s new Pay Transparency Bill has been released, which will likely cause further backlash from the business community.
Ontario’s proposed Pay Transparency Act, would require all advertised job postings to include: a salary rate or range; bar employers from asking about past compensation; and prohibit reprisal against employees who discuss or disclose compensation. It also would require large employers to track and report compensation gaps based on gender and other diversity characteristics, and disclose said information to the province.
Employment Lawyer Jon Pinkus on Global News Radio 900 CHML
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Pay Transparency Act: Implementation
If the Pay Transparency Act comes into force, it would be rolled out to first to the Ontario Public Service. Then subsequently to the private sector workplaces with more than 500 employees, and then those with more than 250 employees. The Provincial Government would also encourage small businesses to follow suit.
According to Statistics Canada Survey Labour Income Dynamics (SLID) data from 2011, the last year for which this data was available, Ontario had a 31.5% gender pay gap. The proposed legislation is intended to eliminate the gender pay gap in the Province.
Disclosure of the amount of remuneration an individual receives in their employment has always been a taboo topic both in the employment and personal settings. Individuals often find it difficult to disclose how much they earn, among their friends, colleagues and even for some, their families.
Pay Transparency is already required among unionized employers and the public service, with the reporting of the public sector salary disclosure through the Sunshine List for any individual in public service that earns over $100,000 per annum.
Impact on Ontario’s Economy
If this forced pay transparency happens it could be detrimental to Ontario’s economy through more private sector employers choosing to not operate in Ontario and could lead to a less competitive job market. This would cause unemployment rates in Ontario to rise and may not improve the gender pay disparity, which was the goal of this proposed Act.
Chantel Goldsmith is Partner in Samfiru Tumarkin LLP’s labour and employment law practice. She persistently pursues her employee and employer clients’ interests vigorously, with self-confidence and unwavering determination. Chantel can be contacted directly via firstname.lastname@example.org.