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BC's New Pay Transparency Act

Employers in BC can no longer ask job applicants what they have been paid at positions with other employers and must post wage rates in advertised job postings. This is all part of BC’s new Pay Transparency Act, new legislation that attempts to close the gender pay gap in BC, which is one of the largest in Canada. The Act places new requirements on employers to address systemic discrimination in the workplace and includes the following key provisions:

Inquiries about Job Applicant Pay History

While employers in BC can no longer ask job applicants about what they have been paid at previous employers, pay history already on record may be used to determine pay for new positions; similarly, employers may rely on publicly accessible information on pay for similar positions.

Limits to Pay Secrecy

Effective immediately, employers in BC cannot dismiss, suspend, demote, discipline or harass an employee who:

  • Asks their employer about their pay
  • Reveals their pay to another employee or someone applying to work with their employer
  • Asks the employer about its pay transparency report
  • Gives information to the Director of Pay Transparency (not yet appointed) about their employer

Job Posting Information

Beginning November 1, 2023, all employers in BC must include the expected pay or the expected pay range for a specific job opportunity that they advertise publicly. This requirement does not apply to unionized positions covered by the CSSEA collective agreements, as the level of transparency is already established in the job posting processes.

The expected pay or pay range must be included within the job posting. For example:

  • $20 per hour
  • $20-$30 per hour
  • $40,000 per year
  • $40,000 - $60,000 per year

When stating a pay range on publicly advertised job postings, employers must not include an unspecified minimum or maximum amount. For example:

  • “$20 per hour and up” or “up to $30 per hour” does not meet the requirement, but
  • “$20-$30 per hour” does meet the requirement

At this time, the Province is not providing guidance on how large the range can be. This is at the employer’s discretion. The Province may choose to provide further guidance or introduce a regulation on maximum advertised ranges in the future if needed. The Pay Transparency Regulation, B.C. Reg. 225/2023 is now available but currently provides information only in relation to reporting requirements.

Pay information should be the employer’s reasonable expectation of pay for the job at the time of posting. This requirement does not prevent the following:

  • The applicant requesting higher pay than the amount advertised
  • The employer agreeing to pay an applicant a higher rate than the amount advertised

In addition to jobs posted directly by the employer, the requirement applies to jobs posted by third parties on job search websites, job boards and other recruitment platforms on behalf of the employer.

Reporting on Pay Transparency

Employers above a certain size will be required to complete and post pay transparency reports by November 1st of each year. This requirement will apply in stages over the next four years:

  • 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 will be required to begin posting annual pay transparency reports
  • By November 1, 2025: all employers with 300 employees or more will be required to begin posting annual pay transparency reports
  • By November 1, 2026: all employers with 50 employees or more will be required to begin posting annual pay transparency reports

The reports will need to show the gaps in pay for certain groups: employers will have to report differences in hourly wages, overtime, benefits and wages, as received by women, non-binary individuals, men and “unknown” individuals who either choose not to disclose their gender or do not identify as a particular gender. An online reporting tool will assist employers in preparing the report. Details on how to collect this information to be in compliance with the Act, and what must be included in the reports, are being developed and will be shared upon completion.

For more information, please contact your CSSEA Consultant or Advocate.

Communications Contact

Doris Sun
Director of Communications
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