Ontario the First Province to Pass "Pay Transparency" Legislation

Ontario's Pay Transparency Act, 2018 (the Act) passed the Third Reading on April 26, making the province the first to pass legislation of this type.

What You Need To Know

  • The Act introduces new rules around pay transparency measures, pay transparency reports, anti-reprisal rules, and compliance audits.
  • The Act is expected to come into force on January 1, 2019.
  • The legislation will have significant implications for employers in Ontario.1
  • The Act has been described by the Ontario government as central to "Then Now Next: Ontario's Strategy for Women's Economic Empowerment."2

The Details

Pay Transparency Measures

The Act prohibits employers from asking for compensation history information about an applicant. However, an applicant may voluntarily provide this information. The Act also mandates that all publicly-advertised job postings include the expected compensation or range of compensation for the position.

Pay Transparency Reports

Prescribed employers will be required to file an annual pay transparency report containing information relating to the employer, its workforce composition, and differences in compensation in the workforce with respect to gender and other prescribed characteristics. Employers with 250 or more employees will be required to file their first report on May 15, 2020, while employers with between 100 and 250 employees will be required to file their first report on May 15, 2021. Reports must be filed with the province and posted online or in a conspicuous location in the workplace. The province will publish the reports or otherwise make them available to the public.

Anti-Reprisal

The Act prohibits intimidating, dismissing or otherwise penalizing an employee for asking the employer questions about his or her compensation, disclosing his or her compensation to another employee, or asking the employer to comply with the Act. The employee may file a complaint with the Labour Relations Board, alleging such a reprisal, and the onus of proof will be on the employer.

Compliance Audits

The Act enables a compliance officer to conduct a compliance audit of an employer. A failure to comply may result in a penalty and publication of the contravention.

We will continue to monitor the progress of the Act and provide information on any further updates.

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1 See "Ontario Introduces "Pay Transparency" Legislation."

2 See https://www.ontario.ca/page/then-now-next-ontarios-strategy-womens-economic-empowerment.

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