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Pay Transparency: What employers in B.C. need to know

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If you are an employer in B.C. (British Columbia) you may not be aware that the government passed the new Pay Transparency Act on 11th of May, 2023. The Act places new requirements on employers to address systemic discrimination in the workplace that affects women of colour, Indigenous women, immigrant women, non binary people and women with disabilities in the workplace.

All people need to be paid fairly for the work they do and our communities are stronger when people are treated equally. Unfortunately, B.C. has one of the highest pay gaps in the country. According to the B.C. government and Statistics Canada, in 2022 women in B.C. earned 17% less than men. For Indigenous, Black people, newcomer women and people of colour the gap is even higher.

Canada's west coast province has one of the highest gender pay gaps in the country, the B.C. government reported. According to Statistics Canada, in 2022 women in B.C. earned around 17 percent less than men.

Effective 1st November, 2023 B.C. employers must include salary or hourly wage ranges in all recruitment advertisements and can no longer ask what candidates have been paid in prior positions and pay history.

Starting in November 2023, employers of certain sizes will be required to complete and post pay transparency reports. In order to allow employers to prepare for this requirement, it will be rolled out in the following stages:

  • By November 1, 2023: the B.C. government and the six largest Crown corporations, which are BC Hydro, BC Housing, BC Lottery Corp., BC Transit, ICBC, and Work Safe BC will be required to begin posting annual pay transparency reports

  • By November 1, 2024: all employers with 1,000 employees or more

  • By November 1, 2025: all employers with 300 employees or more

  • By November 1, 2026: all employers with 50 employees or more

The reports will need to show gaps in pay for certain groups, and there is an online reporting tool that is being developed to assist in report preparation. Employers will also be collecting gender information from their employees, in order to complete the report.

The information that is gathered from the report will be required to be posted on employer websites. If the employer does not have a website, they will be required to post in a conspicuous location in the workplace and have the information available to the public upon request.

Compensation conversations around pay transparency

At the moment, businesses are at a wait and see phase while the Act is being drafted and reporting structure is finalized. This will allow employers to start to evaluate their current compensation policies and benchmark their salaries against market rates.

“This is a great opportunity for employers who do not have a compensation framework in place to create one, starting with the criteria for each role, including knowledge, skills and abilities needed for each position, Salary is so much more than just a number” explained Kristi Searle of Peoplebiz Consulting Inc.

As an employer, you will need to start thinking about how to create a fair and equitable compensation policy, salary grid and how to communicate this information to your employees.

Employers will need to start updating their policies to reflect the following Pay Transparency Act changes:

  • Recruitment policies should now state that questions to candidates about prior salary or pay history are off limits in interviews and unacceptable

  • Employee handbooks and HR policies should include a policy that states in B.C. employers cannot dismiss, suspend, demote, discipline or harass an employee who:

o Asks their employer about their pay

o Reveals their pay to another employee or someone applying to work with the employer

o Asks the employer about its pay transparency report

o Gives information to the Director of Pay Transparency about their employer

  • Implement training sessions for manager involved in the recruitment process to create awareness around B.C’s pay transparency legislation

If you are looking for assistance on how to start the compensation conversation and update your policies to reflect the new Pay Transparency Act, we are here to help. Teamwork360 has being helping businesses of all sizes create compensation plans and salary grids. We also assist you in communicating this information to your team and how to address those difficult conversation that could arise.

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