According to Statistics Canada, in 2022, women and gender diverse people in British Columbia earned 17% less than cisgender men for comparable work. In 2022, the pay gap was even greater for people with disabilities, Indigenous people and people of colour.
In order to narrow this gender pay gap, the BC government introduced Bill 13, the 2023 Pay Transparency Act, (“Bill 13”), for first reading on March 7, 2023.
As currently drafted, Bill 13 will:
- as soon as the legislation is in force, prohibit BC employers from asking prospective employees for pay history information, or from adversely affecting, or threatening to adversely affect, employees who disclose their pay to co-workers or potential job applicants;
- effective November 1, 2023, require all employers to include wage or salary ranges on all publicly advertised jobs;
- require BC employers to prepare and publicly post reports on their gender pay gap, according to the following schedule:
- November 1, 2023: BC Public Service Agency and Crown corporations with 1,000+ employees (ICBC, BC Hydro, WorkSafeBC, BC Housing, BC Lottery Corporation and BC Transit)
- November 1, 2024: all employers with 1,000+ employees
- November 1, 2025: all employers with 300+ employees
- November 1, 2026: all employers with 50+ employees
Employers will also be required to publish their annual pay transparency report on their own publicly accessible website, or for employers that do not have a website, they must make copies of their annual report available to their employees and any member of the public who requests one. Under this new legislation, the Ministry of Finance will also publish an annual report that will serve as centralized reporting of gender pay in British Columbia.
In addition to identifying and trying to reduce gender pay differences, Bill 13 is noteworthy for two further reasons. First, having identified a particularly large pay gap between Indigenous women and other British Columbians, Bill 13 expressly contemplates that the newly designated Director of Pay Transparency position will consult and cooperate with Indigenous people before completing any annual reports. Second, the Provincial Government is developing regulations for Fall 2023 that will provide employers with more details on how to report on the pay gap. According to the Ministry of Finance, one objective of the impending regulations is to ensure the pay gap data is collected and reported in a manner that is not gender binary. If passed, this would make BC the first jurisdiction in Canada to take such an approach.
We will continue to monitor Bill 13 as it progresses and its potential implications for employers going forward.
For more information, please contact your Harris lawyer.