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Ontario’s proposed ‘pay transparency’ bill aims to close gender wage gap

In a bid to narrow the gender wage gap, Ontario will introduce new legislation forcing companies to include salary ranges in job ads and also track — and report — what they pay their workers.
The move, to be announced by Premier Kathleen Wynne on Tuesday — two days before International Women’s Day — means job candidates will have information about compensation when applying for and accepting jobs, and is being called a first in Canada.
It’s part of a broader, $50 million three-year plan that would ban employers from asking potential workers about what they’ve earned in the past, and also require them to keep records of wages based on workers’ gender and diversity, make that data public and also submit it to the province.
The funding will also go towards job skills training and supports at women’s centres, boosting mentorship and will also be used to create an entrepreneurship association.
“It’s been more than 30 years since Ontario first passed pay equity legislation, but we are still working to close the gap,” Wynne said in a statement.
“We know that too many women still face systemic barriers to economic advancement. When women face increased harassment, violence, poverty and discrimination, it hurts our society and our economy. It’s time for change.”
Labour Minister Kevin Flynn said “our government is committed to breaking down barriers to employment, closing the gender wage gap and helping to support all women in the economy.”
The new initiative is called “Then Now Next: Ontario’s Strategy for Women’s Economic Empowerment” and says similar laws exist in the U.K. and Australia.
Women continue to earn 30 per cent less than men, a figure the government says hasn’t changed in the past 10 years.
The proposed rules will at first be applied to the Ontario Public Service, then to companies with 500-plus employees, followed by firms with 250-plus workers.

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