Ontario Pay Transparency Delayed Indefinitely?

The Ontario government has rolled back protections for employees by stalling the implementation of the Pay Transparency Act.

On January 1, 2019, Ontario was going to become the first Province in Canada to legislate pay transparency by introducing the Pay Transparency Act. Now, less than one month before the Act’s planned debut, the Ontario government has cancelled its implementation without committing to a new date to bring the Act into force.

The Act was enacted in May 2018 in an effort to prevent wage disparity on the basis of gender and other diversity characteristics. The Act requires Ontario employers to:

  • Include a salary rate (or range) in all publicly advertised job postings;

  • Abstain from asking candidates about past wages; and

  • Abstain from penalizing employees who discuss their wages.

The Act requires employers with 100 or more employees to publicly disclose data about salaries, gender and ethnicity, starting in 2021.

Currently, employers may ask candidates how much they make at their current or former jobs to decide how much they will offer to pay that candidate in their new role. It was found that this question perpetuates the wage gap by continuing a discrepancy in pay equality that the candidate may already experience.

To put this in context, the World Economic Forum has found that at the current rate of change it will take 202 years to achieve equal pay between men and women worldwide.

It is not known when the Pay Transparency Act will be implemented, if at all. Stay tuned for updates on pay transparency in Ontario.

David Spence