Closing the Wage Gap in Ontario?

Written by on March 12, 2018.

In yet another “time for a change” speech, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced last week that the government will take steps to close the wage gap between men and women. The gender-based wage gap has been stagnant for over a decade at about 30% – usually expressed as women earning 70 cents for every dollar earned by men.

Bill 203 is titled the “Pay Transparency Act” and, if passed into law, many large employers will have to make further changes to some long-standing policies and practices. The current version of Bill 203 provides that:

  • Employers cannot ask an applicant about their compensation history.
  • Employers must include a salary range in any publicly advertised job posting.
  • Employers must track and report details of their workforce composition, and identify wage gaps linked to gender and other prescribed characteristics
  • Employers cannot impose any reprisals against an employee for inquiring about compensation or discussing their own compensation

The changes will initially affect the Ontario public service before being applied to employers with more than 500 employees. It is anticipated that at a later date, the legislation will be extended to apply to smaller organizations.

We’ll update you on the progress of this new law as it moves through the legislature.