On Tuesday, March 7, 2023, the British Columbia Provincial Government announced new legislation designed to reduce the gender pay gap for provincially regulated employees. The BC Pay Transparency Act has now received its first reading in the Provincial Legislature and is expected to pass before summer recess, given the majority government presently enjoyed by the governing New Democratic Party. However, we note that there has been significant pushback from certain influential stakeholders in the province that believe the legislation does not go far enough with respect to its stated objective. We note this because the legislation is still subject to change, and employers in BC should watch carefully as it progresses.
In its current form, the Pay Transparency Act attempts to address the gender pay gap by requiring employers to disclose salary ranges in job postings, prohibiting employers from seeking a job applicant’s “pay history,” prohibiting employers from punishing employees who share pay information, and requiring employers to prepare publicly accessible pay transparency reports in a prescribed form.