What is the Pay Transparency Act in British Columbia?

The B.C. government passed the 2023 Pay Transparency Act on May 11, 2023. This act requires that employers must take steps to address and eliminate pay discrimination in the workplace through more transparent discussion and reporting of salaries and pay ranges for both their current staff and for job postings.

The government had previously conducted consultations beginning on March 8, 2022, which included Indigenous women, women of colour, and transgender individuals to help address pay inequities. 

In this new act, requirements for employers include:

  • Employers may not request pay history information from job applicants.
  • Employers must include the expected pay or pay range for job opportunities and postings they advertise publicly.
  • Employers will be required to complete pay transparency reports and post them on a publicly accessible website or another publicly accessible means such that workers and members of the public may access the report. This requirement will be rolled out over the next four years as follows:
    • November 1st, 2023: B.C. government and six Crown corporations, including B.C. Hydro, BC Housing, BC Lottery Corp., BC Transit, ICBC and Work Safe BC
    • November 1st, 2024: All employers with 1,000 employees or more
    • November 1st, 2025: All employers with 300 employees or more
    • November 1st, 2026: All employers with 50 employees or more

Employees can ask employers about their pay, speak to another employee or prospective employee about their salary, ask about a pay transparency report and give information about their employer to the Director, Pay Transparency (the government official designated to monitor and support compliance with the act), without fear of harassment, dismissal, suspension or other disciplinary actions.

The benefits of the act include increasing pay transparency and fostering a more open work culture. 

Before the implementation of this act, B.C. did not have either pay transparency or pay equity legislation, and it was one of the last provinces to enact such laws. Pay transparency laws aim to increase access to pay-related information in the workplace, while pay equity laws address pay disparities in traditionally gendered roles and require certain employers to evaluate and correct any gender-based pay gaps. Both types of legislation are designed to ensure equal pay for equal work.

Although the Hay Job Evaluation System (at SFU) has been challenging for APSA members due to its lack of transparency in creating internal equity for similar positions, APSA is currently working with the University in our Joint Compensation Review Committee on ways to improve the process. This includes ensuring job descriptions (especially older ones) are reviewed and updated and by also negotiating for the implementation of a Joint Job Evaluations Appeals Committee.