Ontario Labour Minister Laurie Scott introduces back-to-work legislation in the Ontario Legislature in Toronto on Monday, December 17, 2018. Ontario is gathering feedback on legislation aimed at eliminating the gender wage gap, including asking businesses how onerous pay transparency reporting would be. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Ontario consults on gender wage gap law, asks for business input

The consultation questions ask the best way to calculate the wage gap

Ontario is gathering feedback on legislation aimed at eliminating the gender wage gap, including asking businesses how onerous pay transparency reporting would be.

The Progressive Conservative government paused implementation last year of a law from the previous Liberal government that would require all publicly advertised job postings to include a salary rate or range, bar employers from asking about past compensation, prohibit reprisal against employees who discuss compensation and require large employers to track and report compensation gaps.

Based on the most recent data from Statistics Canada, the gender wage gap accounting for the annual earnings of all workers is 29.3 per cent, meaning that women earn about 71 cents for every dollar that men earn. The gap for annual earnings of full-year, full-time workers is 22.6 per cent, as more women than men are in part-time work. And when using hourly wage rates, the gap is 11.3 per cent.

Labour Minister Laurie Scott said the Liberals passed the legislation right before the election without any consultations, and she said people affected by the law wanted an opportunity to be heard.

“We’re committed to closing the gender wage gap,” she said in an interview. “I think taking the time and listening to the many stakeholders about how to do it properly — and how to have, in some cases, interesting ideas that we haven’t heard of on how to address the gender wage gap — is valuable.”

Under the law, employers with 100 or more employees would have to calculate their wage gaps and report that information.

The consultation questions ask the best way to calculate the wage gap, including if bonuses, overtime pay and commissions should be involved, what the reporting periods should be, and how much time and money it would take to meet reporting requirements.

“If you are an employer with 100 or more employees, how much do you estimate the cost of pay transparency reporting will be,” such as IT, software and personnel costs, the consultation paper asks.

“How many hours do you anticipate pay transparency reporting will take in total?”

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said she is insulted by the questions, and all women should be, too.

“What the message is with that kind of a survey and that kind of a question is that I guess this government believes that pay equity for women is red tape and there’s no need to ensure that women have pay equity,” she said.

“If we’re ever going to get to a place where we have pay equity we need to know what the numbers are.”

READ MORE: Flexible hours as mothers re-enter workforce could ease wage gap

Scott defended the questions, saying she wants companies to be able to report their wage gap numbers.

“I don’t want it to be onerous, but we want as much participation as we can get,” she said.

Ashley Challinor, the vice-president of policy at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, said the organization recognizes the gender wage gap as a challenge and is looking forward to giving feedback.

“Our concern is that this legislation does not interact with the Pay Equity Act, the existing legislation that seeks to address the pay gap,” she said in a statement. “This is, unfortunately, an example of layering on of regulation instead of modernizing and streamlining it — which negatively impacts compliance and the effectiveness of the regulation.”

Comments on the public consultation are open until April 5.

Allison Jones, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Overflowing garbage bin attracts Colwood councillor’s attention

Staff report will contain current locations, cost, and potential sites for new garbage bins

Rickter Scale: A novel approach to balancing the books

The Rickter Scale is a weekly column

Bates Motel recreated in Saanich for a haunting good time

Local artists, actors transform house into a free, ‘fun spooky’ Halloween attraction

Sidney handles plastic bags with wait-and-see approach

Officials say they will wait for courts and provincial action concerning single-use plastic bags

West Shore RCMP bust seizes $50,000 worth of drugs

More than 300 grams of cocaine and crack-cocaine seized in Victoria

WATCH: Greater Victoria’s top stories of the day

A round-up of the day’s top stories

POLL: Do you think the day of the federal election should be a statutory holiday?

Increasing voter turnout has long been a goal of officials across the… Continue reading

Alberta truck convoy plans counter-protest at climate rally with Greta Thunberg

United We Roll organizer says similar protest planned for Swedish teen’s event in Edmonton

COLUMN: Halloween shouldn’t be a purity test

The holiday is a time of pretending and fun

Scheer, Trudeau, Singh haggle over potential minority government outcome

If you believe the polls, it appears the Liberals and Conservatives are neck-and-neck

British family deported after ‘accidental’ U.S. border crossing

U.S. officials deny it was mistake, release video of vehicle crossing into Washington from Langley

Kamloops man hangs on to back of stolen truck as suspect speeds away, crashes

The pickup truck was seen leaving the roadway before bursting into flames

‘Sky didn’t fall:’ Police, lawyers still adjusting after pot legalization

Statistics Canada says 541 people were charged under the federal Cannabis Act between Oct. 17, 2018 and the end of the year

Fewer people prescribed opioids in B.C., but other provinces lack data: doctors

Patients who began taking opioids were prescribed smaller doses for shorter duration

Most Read