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

Musical fundraiser in Port Alberni supports life after loss

Camp Kerry Society raising funds to provide grief and loss supports to children and youth

No ‘imminent’ health risks at McLean Mill, says medical health officer

Remediation costs for historic site raises concerns

Port Alberni resident assaulted after confronting thief

RCMP warn residents to call for police assistance

Butterflies released in Port Alberni in memory of loved ones

Alberni Valley Hospice Society hosts fourth annual ‘Butterfly Effect’

Overpass, barrier, more parking considered for Cathedral Grove

Provincial government proceeding ‘with caution’

VIDEO: Killer whale steals fisherman’s catch off North Coast

Fishing duel results in eager orca snagging salmon in Prince Rupert

Fate of accused in Canadian couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbott’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

PHOTOS: North Island home gutted in fire deemed ‘suspicious’

No injuries reported; firefighters prevented blaze from spreading

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Eating sandwiches, putting on makeup behind the wheel could land you a fine

RCMP say if you cause an accident while eating you could be penalized

Cat badly hurt in animal trap was likely stuck for days, B.C. owner says

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

Island Health issues safer drug-use tips ahead of music festival season

Health authority aims to reduce overdose risks at festivals

40 cats surrendered in apparent hoarding at B.C. home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Most Read