Pay transparency laws in B.C.
The new Pay Transparency Act, which passed on May 11, 2023, places new requirements on employers to address systemic discrimination in the workplace. Please see the discussion paper for background information on pay transparency and the gender pay gap.
Why this is needed
All people deserve to be paid fairly and our communities are stronger when everyone is treated equally. However, too many women in B.C. are still making less than men. Last year, women in B.C. earned 17% less than men. The pay gap also disproportionately impacts Indigenous women, women of colour, and immigrant women, as well as women with disabilities and non-binary people.
For information on why B.C. has introduced pay transparency see Gender Equity Office.
Pay history and pay secrecy
Effective immediately, employers in B.C. can no longer ask job applicants about what they have been paid at positions with other employers. Employers may still:
- Use the pay history information they already have about that employee to determine the pay for a new position
- Rely on publicly accessible information on the pay for similar positions
Also effective immediately, employers in B.C. 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 about their employer
Beginning November 1, 2023, all employers in B.C. must include the expected pay or the expected pay range for a specific job opportunity that they advertise publicly.
For additional guidance see wage or salary information on job postings.
Frequently asked questions about job postings
The Act requires that if an employment opportunity is publicly advertised, then pay information must be included with the publicly available information. General “help wanted” posters that don’t advertise a specific opportunity and general recruitment campaigns that don’t mention specific job opportunities are not captured by this requirement.
If a job is not posted publicly then it is not required to have pay information.
Pay transparency reports
Provincially regulated employers above a certain size are required to complete and post pay transparency reports on all their B.C. employees by November 1st of each year. This requirement will apply in stages over the next four years, depending on the number of employees in B.C.:
- 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. An online reporting tool is in development to assist employers in preparing the report. In the interim, tools and guidance on new regulations are in place to help employers meet their reporting obligations. Details on what must be included in the reports have been developed in collaboration with the BC Public Service Agency and the six largest Crown corporations that are required to report first in the Fall of 2023.
The Gender Equity Office will seek feedback from employers reporting in Fall 2024 to ensure the reporting tool will work for them and their employees. Year-by-year engagement will continue to ensure we are always working closely with employers to build the best pay transparency reporting system to serve British Columbians. Opportunities to consult on reporting requirements will be advertised here in early 2024.
Frequently asked questions about pay transparency reports
Employers will be required to collect gender information from their employees according to the new Gender and Sex Data Standard in order complete the Pay Transparency Report. Employers will also be required to allow their employees to voluntarily update the information annually.
Employers will be required to use this information to complete a Pay Transparency Report, with the assistance of a reporting tool that the Ministry will introduce under Regulation. The Ministry will consult employer groups and payroll associations in developing this tool and share it with employers.
Employers will be required to post their pay transparency reports on their websites. If they do not have a website, they will be required to post it in a conspicuous place in the workplace and to make it available upon request by a member of the public.
These requirements apply to all of an organization’s employees in British Columbia.
Employees can decline to give their gender information to their employer for the purposes of preparing the pay transparency report.