Transparency payments in Canada: who has?

Salary transparency has become an increasingly desirable asset in the job market as more and more Canadians want to openly discuss their salary while they grapple with a steep rise in the cost of living. and constant wage differentials.

This issue is particularly relevant for minority workers like women, as research shows their earnings have not kept pace with inflation, potentially widening the wage gap in Canada since COVID-19 hit. Okay.

A September report by the International Labor Organization found that transparent wage policies can help reveal wage disparities between men and women and identify their underlying causes, and could “reduce gender inequality in the labor market.”

New York City recently joined a group of US cities to pass legislation requiring most employers to list salaries on all job postings, making it one of the largest job markets in the world. the world’s most transparent payment requirements for workers.

On the other side of the world, the UK is currently leading a voluntary pilot scheme for employers to disclose their wages, while the European Union Pay Transparency Directive is for Large employers offering salary ranges on job ads are likely to be rolled out in 2024.


According to data from Indeed Canada, 66% of new jobs posted on the platform contained salary information in Q4 2021 compared with 80% globally and 78% in the US.

But Canadian workers’ access to transparency really depends on whether they are federally or provincially regulated employees, said Jan Borowy, a Toronto-based labor law attorney. , told in a phone interview on Friday.

The federal government’s Fair Pay Act, effective January 2021, requires all federally regulated private sector employers, including banks, radio and television, telecommunications companies and airlines, must ensure that workers receive equal wages for work of equal value and aim to enable women and other minority workers to be compensated for their work. equal to their labor.

To achieve this, federally regulated employers must now report wage data for all workers “in a manner that displays aggregated information on wage differentials,” with aggregation and initial distribution of salary data scheduled for June 2022.

“The laws that currently apply to federally regulated workers in Canada, with clear pay transparency, are much better than anything New York or any city has,” said Borowy. other of the United States are doing.

“However, there are certainly gaps. The largest percentage of workers in Canada is covered by provincial jurisdictions.”

Currently, the laws governing payment transparency across provinces are very inconsistent. For example:


Ontario’s former Liberal government enacted a law called the Salary Transparency Act in 2018, requiring salary transparency in vacancies, just weeks before Radical Conservative Doug Ford was elected. be prime minister. Since then, the measure has been shelved.

The act will apply to all Ontario-based companies with more than 100 employees.

“It’s a very, very important first step in the whole path to transparent payments,” Borowy said.

“It includes things like: employers can’t ask about your old salary, can’t take legal action in case you start questioning your salary, and reports and analysis expected to be filed by the employer regarding the salary gap.”

It was not immediately clear why the action was delayed, and Premier Ford’s office did not immediately respond to CTV News for comment.

Ontario represents one of Canada’s largest job markets. The province added 344,800 jobs in 2021 (up 4.9%), the highest annual employment increase ever recorded, according to Statistics Canada’s Workforce Survey.

Borowy says she’s optimistic that change can be seen in Ontario through the work of women and different collective voices.

“It’s important to remember in Ontario that there’s a kind of robust pay transparency system in place. It’s just on the back burner.

“If you want to change that, pick up the phone and call Doug Ford’s office.”


The BC government promised in March that, as a first step, it would begin to address the ongoing wage disparity between men and women in the province.

Grace Lore, parliamentary secretary for gender equality, made the announcement in the legislature on International Women’s Day and said consultations will begin to help develop “made in” payments transparency legislation. new BC”.

“Transparency and accountability is one step toward addressing pay disparities in BC,” she said. “A gap not only in terms of gender, but also in relation to race. It is larger for indigenous women and girls, people with disabilities and new immigrants. “

According to the government, BC is one of only four provinces that do not have transparent or fair pay laws, and has one of the largest gender pay gaps in the country, with women in the province on average fewer than men. about 20%.

The legal consultations ended this summer.


Prince Edward Island passed legislation in June that regulates the salary that appears on all public job postings.

According to the province’s website, employers will no longer be allowed to seek salary history information from candidates, all public job postings will need to include the salary or salary offered. Producing and acting against employees discussing or sharing wages will be prohibited.

“Looks like Prince Edward Island just solved the first problem,” said Borowy.

“But, they haven’t really come back and asked employers to keep making detailed reports. Detailed reports that must be publicly available and enforceable are necessary to make a difference.”

With files from the Canadian Press and CTV News Vancouver

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