The Ontario Pay Transparency Act, 2018 is an important tool for employees and trade unions to better understand human rights and wage inequalities in workplaces. The Act was to be effective as of January 1, 2019. In November, the Ontario government's omnibus legislation, Bill 57, put hold on the Act's implementation date indefinitely.
The Ontario government reopened a consultation on pay transparency. The government wants comments on the Act's regulations which would set out the employer's reporting requirements. Comments are due April 5, 2019. The consultation questions are not framed in the context of basic human rights.
The International Labour Organization's Equal Pay International Coalition identifies pay transparency as a key tool for closing the gender pay gap. Ontario's Act, first passed in May 2018, has the clear purpose "to disclose inequities related to compensation that women and other Ontarians may experience in the workplace to encourage removal of such inequities." The Act set out a basic framework where each year employers with 100 or more employees are to post public reports about the pay structure in their workplace. The Act follows similar legislation internationally in the United Kingdom, Australia and several EU countries.
The Ontario government's consultation wants to know how to calculate the wages and the comment reporting period. The government wants businesses to "estimate the costs of pay transparency reporting". The consultation document does not ask employees what reporting mechanisms are required to ensure employees could report human rights violation more easily. Despite the obvious skew towards employers, this consultation provides employees and those concerned with closing the gender pay gap an opportunity to detail the meaningful information required to identify compensation inequalities.
The government's consultation paper is here.
For further background information on Pay Transparency, see the Equal Pay Coalition's Backgrounder on Pay Transparency, found here.
Email submissions are due by April 5, 2019 here.
Alternatively, send your comments to the Minister of Labour at:
Pay Transparency Reporting Project
Corporate Policy and Special Projects
Ministry of Labour
400 University Avenue, 12th Floor
Toronto ON M7A 1T7