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Article | Global News Briefs

Canada/British Columbia: Pay Transparency Act receives Royal Assent

By Glenda Oldenburg | May 30, 2023

British Columbia becomes the first province to pass pay transparency legislation to analyze the pay gap around employees’ self-identified gender.
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Employer Action Code: Act

British Columbia has passed new pay transparency legislation to support identifying and eliminating unjustified pay differences among groups of workers. The government intends in particular for this to help close the gender pay gap, which stood at 17% in 2022 (with larger gaps for Indigenous, visible minority, immigrant and disabled women). While other provinces have started to introduce pay transparency legislation, British Columbia is the first to also address the pay gap with respect to the employee’s “self-identified gender.”

Key details

Effective May 11, 2023:
  • Employers are prohibited from requesting pay history information from job applicants.
  • Employers are prohibited from retaliating, or threatening to retaliate, against employees who make an inquiry to their employer about their pay, disclose information about their pay to other employees or job applicants, or engage in other enumerated activities. For this purpose, retaliating includes dismissing, suspending, demoting, disciplining, harassing or otherwise disadvantaging;.
Effective November 1, 2023:
  • Employers must specify a job’s expected salary or salary range in all publicly advertised job opportunities.
  • Employers with 50 or more employees will be required to publish annual pay transparency reports. The reports must be published on or before November 1 each year. This requirement will be phased in depending on the size of the employer:
    • November 1, 2023: British Columbia Public Service Agency and Crown Corporations with 1,000 or more employees
    • November 1, 2024: All other employers with 1,000 or more employees
    • November 1, 2025: Employers with 300 or more employees
    • November 1, 2026: Employers with 50 or more employees
Effective June 1, 2024:
  • The Minister of Finance must publish an annual report on or before June 1 each year containing information about the pay differences among the prescribed groups of individuals.

Employer implications

Employers should review their policies and practices on pay to ensure compliance. The annual pay transparency report will require employers to report on the composition of their workforce and possibly on the differences in pay in relation to the employee’s “self-identified gender and other characteristics.” This report could also require employers to collect and report data that go beyond just their employee’s gender. The government has indicated that it is developing regulations to provide employers with more details on the reporting requirements.


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