Toronto

Doug Ford's government could delay Canada's first 'pay transparency' legislation

A new law passed intended to lessen the gender wage gap is due to take effect in Ontario in just two months, but Doug Ford's government is not committing to that timeline.

Law would force firms in Ontario to post pay rates in job ads, forbid interview questions about past salary

The Pay Transparency Act is intended to lessen the gender wage gap in Ontario partly by forcing companies to state a salary range in all publicly advertised job postings. (Dave Gilson/CBC)

A new law intended to reduce the gender wage gap is due to take effect in Ontario in just two months, but Doug Ford's government is not committing to that timeline.  

The Pay Transparency Act is the first legislation of its kind in Canada, according to the Ontario Liberals, who were in power when the bill was passed last spring.

The law is scheduled to come into force on Jan. 1. It would make it illegal for prospective employers to ask job interview candidates about their current or previous earnings and would force companies to state a salary range in all publicly advertised job postings.

The law would also require firms with more than 100 employees to disclose to the province data about salaries, gender and ethnicity, starting in 2021.

Asked by CBC News about the legislation, Ontario Labour Minister Laurie Scott did not rule out delaying it.  

Ontario Labour Minister Laurie Scott, left, with Economic Development and Jobs Minister Jim Wilson. (CBC)

"We're looking at the Pay Transparency Act in all reality to see how it fits with businesses, how we can make it work," Scott said in an interview at Queen's Park.

"We're committed to the principle of pay transparency," Scott said. "It's just the timing we're looking at."  

This comes just days after the Ford government moved to repeal Liberal legislation that granted all Ontario workers 10 annual personal emergency leave days, two of them paid. The PCs are also freezing the minimum wage at $14 an hour until October 2020.

Kathleen Wynne's Liberal government introduced the Pay Transparency Act in March. At the time, groups pushing for pay equity criticized the bill as too weak. It passed just before the Legislature dissolved for the June election. 

Such legislation "helps bring people who have traditionally been paid lower up to par with other citizens," said Liberal MPP Michael Coteau at Queen's Park on Thursday. "It's just about fairness and opportunity and equal opportunity."

Similar laws are on the books in some European countries.   

About the Author

Mike Crawley

Provincial Affairs Reporter

Mike Crawley is provincial affairs reporter in Ontario for CBC News. He has won awards for his reporting on the eHealth spending scandal and flaws in Ontario's welfare-payment computer system. Before joining the CBC in 2005, Mike filed stories from 19 countries in Africa as a freelance journalist and worked as a newspaper reporter in B.C.