Ontario’s Pay Transparency Act, 2018 put on Pause

In April 2018, the Ontario government passed the Pay Transparency Act, 2018 into law, making Ontario the first Canadian province to establish comprehensive legislation around pay transparency.

However, on December 6, 2018, Bill 57, Restoring Trust, Transparency and Accountability Act, 2018, received Royal Assent. As a result of this passing Bill, the Pay Transparency Act, 2018 did not come into force on January 1, 2019 as expected and was put on hold. Bill 57 does not change the substantive content of the Act, although it is foreseeable that future legislation will do so.

The purpose of the Pay Transparency Act was to promote gender equality and equal compensation between men and women. More specifically, the legislation establishes rules around the disclosure of information about compensation with a view to advancing the Ontario government’s stated objective of closing the gender wage gap.

What were the requirements of the Pay Transparency Act?

There are a number of requirements that would have impact employers. The Pay Transparency Act, 2018 would:

  1. Require all publicly advertised job postings to include a salary rate or range;
  2. Bar employers from asking a job candidate about their past compensation;
  3. Prohibit reprisals against employees who discuss or disclose compensation; and
  4. Establish a reporting framework that will require employers with 100 or more employees to track, report and post compensation gaps based on gender and other diversity characteristics.

The above-referenced reporting requirements are as follows:

  1. Employers with 100 or more employees must collect prescribed information for the purposes of preparing a pay transparency report no later than May 15 each year;
  2. Employers with 250 or more employees must submit their first pay transparency report by no later than May 15, 2020;
  3. Employers with 100 to 249 employees must submit their first pay transparency report by no later than May 15, 2021.

After these reports are submitted, they must be posted online or in a conspicuous location within the workplace.

How Would have the Pay Transparency Act been enforced?

The Act allows compliance officers to conduct audits. Penalties can also be imposed in accordance with the regulations to the Act.

How Would the Pay Transparency Act Affect My Business?

As a result of the Act, employers may have had to revise their recruiting practices and ensure that their job postings were compliant with the legislation. Employers would also have needed to ensure that their written employment contracts and policies were not in contravention of the Act, such as by containing terms requiring that employees keep salary information confidential. In addition, employers must have had to prepare to meet the reporting requirements, as explained above.

Complimentary Advice on the Pay Transparency Act

Do you have questions about how the Act applies to your business? Ask our HR Advisors for a checklist to ensure that your employment practices are in compliance with Ontario’s labour laws. Call us today – 1(833) 247-3650.