Despite pay equity and anti-discrimination laws, female workers in Ontario continue to earn less than their male peers. In an attempt to address the ongoing gender wage gap, Ontario’s former Liberal government passed the Pay Transparency Act (“PTA”), designed to promote fairer workplaces.
The statue – which was scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2019 – created a number of requirements for employers with respect to compensation disclosure and the filing of pay transparency reports with the government. Some of the PTA’s employer obligations were as follows:
- salary rates or ranges must be stated in all publicly advertised job postings;
- candidates may not be asked about their past compensation;
- reprisals cannot be made against employees who discuss or disclose compensation;
- employers with one hundred or more employees and prescribed employers must track and annually report compensation gaps based on gender and other prescribed characteristics in pay transparency reports;
- such employers must post their pay transparency report online, or in at least one conspicuous place, in every workplace of the employer; and,
- the province must also publish pay transparency reports.
Shortly after the 2018 provincial election, however, Premier Doug Ford halted the coming into effect of the PTA by enacting Bill 57: the Restoring Trust, Transparency and Accountability Act, 2018. This statute, which received Royal Assent on December 6, 2018, delayed the implementation of the PTA to, “a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor”, to allow the government time to engage in public consultations. It is not known at this time when – or if— the PTA will come into force. Further, while Bill 57 does not change the substantive content of the PTA, it is foreseeable, given Premier Ford’s mandate, that future legislation will.
This has created a confusing situation for employers, some of whom may already have invested time, money and resources into complying with the PTA.
For now, employers are not required to create pay transparency reports and may limit their employees’ ability to disclose their compensation information. Further, they may continue to determine compensation rates based on a variety of factors such as a candidate’s experience and qualifications.
We will continue to monitor the status of these laws and report on further developments and their implications for employers and employees in Ontario.
Minken Employment Lawyers is your source for expert advice and advocacy on today’s employment law issues. Whether you are an employer or an employee, we can help. Contact us to see how.
Sign up for our e-Newsletter for the latest updates and case studies in employment law.