Employers in BC have new prohibitions and obligations under the Pay Transparency Act (the “Act”), which was introduced and passed this spring in a stated effort to address systemic discrimination in the workplace, and to help close the gender pay gap.
Upon the Act becoming law on May 11, 2023, employers in BC are prohibited from:
- obtaining information on the pay history of an applicant, unless this information is publicly available; and
- retaliating against employees who:
- make inquiries about their own pay;
- disclose their pay information to a colleague or to an applicant with the same employer;
- ask the employer about a pay transparency report or information contained within it;
- ask their employer to comply with the Act; or
- report their employer for failure to comply with the Act.
Employers should take note of the following dates, and implement measures to ensure compliance with the new law:
Pay Information in Job Postings
Starting on November 1, 2023, all BC employers must specify the expected pay or pay range for all publicly advertised job opportunities. The Act specifies that there may be regulations to follow that exempt certain employers from this requirement and prescribe additional information that must be included in the public job ad.
The Act requires employers to publicly post pay transparency reports containing information on pay, gender, and other diversity characteristics of their employees. This reporting requirement will be introduced in stages based on the number of individuals employed with the employer, as follows:
- November 1, 2023: BC Public Service Agency and Crown Corporations with more than 1,000 employees;
- November 1, 2024: employers with 1,000 employees or more;
- November 1, 2025: employers with 300 employees or more;
- November 1, 2026: employers with 50 employees or more; and
- after 2026, employers with a to-be-prescribed number of employees of up to 49.
The Minister of Finance will appoint a Director of Pay Transparency to prepare annual reports, receive reports of non-compliance, and support employers in complying with their reporting obligations. Starting June 1, 2024, the minister will publish a report every year containing pay differences and trends among certain groups along with the number and nature of reports of non-compliance received by the director.
The BC Government has stated that it is developing regulations for fall 2023 to provide employers with more clarity, including the format the pay transparency report must take, the information to be included in the report, and the manner in which information about employees should be collected by reporting employers.
Please contact a member of our Labour and Employment Group if you questions regarding the new pay transparency obligations in British Columbia.