BC pay transparency legislation and how it’s helping to close the wage gap
Payroll 4 minute read

BC pay transparency legislation and how it’s helping to close the wage gap

Megan Orr | July 20, 2023

Read about the impact of the new BC pay transparency legislation and understand the actions you need to take—plus, learn how this legislation affects both employers and employees.

In May of 2023, the BC government passed legislation that requires all employers in British Columbia to disclose salary information in all public job postings as of November 1, 2023. The legislation also requires organizations to complete and post pay transparency reports, with larger public service and crown corporations required to share reports starting November 2023 and other companies required to comply within a specific (longer) timeframe as set out by the government.

The legislation is in part an effort to close the gender pay gap. According to the latest reports, in 2022 women in British Columbia earned 17% less than their male counterparts. This discrepancy is worse for racialized groups, with men making an average of $35.50 an hour and women on average $29.53 per hour; immigrant women earn an average of $28.78 per hour; other visible minority women earn an average of $27.44 per hour; and Indigenous women earn an average of $26.74 per hour.

The BC pay transparency legislation is a step towards ensuring that all employees are paid fairly for their work.

The Government of British Columbia explains that “all people deserve to be paid fairly and our communities are stronger when everyone is treated equally”. The Pay Transparency Act—which is what the BC pay transparency legislation is officially called—is one of many efforts by the government of British Columbia to close the pay gap.

Some of the other recent initiatives by the BC government include:

  • Investing in better and more affordable childcare so parents aren’t forced to choose between their families and their career. Not only does this increase the number of women that enter and remain in the workforce by as much as 17%, but according to research, universal childcare can also increase lifetime earnings.
  • More investment into housing and support for victims of domestic violence.
  • Raising the minimum wage—60% of minimum wage earners are women.
  • Raising liquor server wages to the minimum wage for that industry—80% of those earners are women.
  • Supporting women in skilled trades with enhanced employment and skills training so women may enter more technical, higher pay occupations.

The BC pay transparency legislation has other goals beyond its aims to close the pay gap.

The new legislation will also impact pay history and pay secrecy. As listed on the Government of BC’s website, “effective immediately, employers in BC can no longer ask job applicants about what they have been paid at positions with other employers”. However, employers can still continue to use the pay information they currently have to inform salary decisions, as well as use readily available salary information for similar positions.

Additionally, also effective immediately, BC employers are no longer able to dismiss, suspend, or otherwise discipline or harass employees who ask about their pay, reveal their pay to other employees or applicants, ask about their pay transparency report, or submit information to the Director of Pay Transparency regarding their employer.

Pay transparency reports will be rolling out for organizations over the next three years.

As previously mentioned, along with including salary ranges in all publicly listed job postings, organizations will also have to begin creating pay transparency reports. The reports are due by organization size, with the first required for submission on November 1, 2023.

The schedule is as follows:

  • By November 1, 2023, the BC government and the six largest Crown corporations (BC Hydro, BC Housing, BC Lottery Corp., BC Transit, ICBC, and WorkSafeBC) will be required to post annual pay transparency reports.
  • By November 1, 2024, all employers with 1,000+ employees will be required to post annual pay transparency reports.
  • By November 1, 2025, all employers with 300+ employees will be required to post annual pay transparency reports.
  • By November 1, 2026, all employers with 50+ employees will be required to post annual pay transparency reports.

More information on what is required in the reports will be available in the fall together with an online tool to support organizations as they create their reports. The pay transparency reports will focus predominantly on gender breakdowns in the workplace in relation to pay.

For more information, visit the Government of BC’s website: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/gender-equity/pay-transparency-laws-in-bc

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