November 24, 2023

British Columbia Pay Transparency Act and the Pursuit of Equal Wages

In a groundbreaking move toward gender pay equality, British Columbia has rolled out a progressive legislation, the Pay Transparency Act, requiring employers to disclose salary or wage information in all public job postings. Enacted on November 1, this law marks a significant step in closing the gender pay gap and fostering a more equitable workforce.

Why the Push for Pay Transparency?

The driving force behind this initiative is the recognition that fair wages should be a fundamental right for all. Kelli Paddon, B.C.’s parliamentary secretary for gender equity, emphasized, "People deserve equal pay for equal work." The legislation aims to ensure that transparent wage information is provided, ensuring parity in remuneration for the same job.

A Key Step Toward Gender Equity

This move aligns with BC broader strategy to bridge the gender pay gap. Harry Bains, Labour Minister, believes that alongside measures like increasing the provincial minimum wage, this law brings them closer to achieving pay equality.

Persisting Challenges Despite Progress

While strides have been made, the gender pay gap persists. Statistics Canada reveals that women in B.C. still earn 17% less than men. Nationally, the gap stands at 17.1%, ranking Canada as the sixth-worst country in gender pay disparity within the OECD.

The Impact Beyond Gender Lines

The legislation acknowledges that pay disparity extends beyond the gender binary, affecting Indigenous women, women from visible minorities, immigrant women, and individuals across the gender spectrum. B.C. has taken a pioneering approach by expanding its analysis beyond the traditional gender binary, aiming for a more inclusive examination of pay gaps.

Voices Supporting the Change

Advocates like Sloan Vereecken of Women of Recreation, Tourism & Hospitality (WORTH) see this legislation as a positive stride toward more equitable industries. They believe that pay transparency will rectify historical wage disparities and empower women to negotiate fair compensation.

Enforcement and Noncompliance

Presently, the Pay Transparency Act lacks specific penalties or an investigating body for noncompliant employers. However, existing protections under the Human Rights Code prohibit wage discrimination based on sex, offering recourse for employees facing pay inequity.

Shift in Worker Expectations

The enactment coincides with a growing demand for transparency in salary information from job seekers. Recent surveys show that nearly half of Canada's professionals expect companies to disclose salary ranges in job postings. Moreover, a lack of transparency about salary and benefits remains a significant frustration for job seekers during the hiring process.


The Pay Transparency Act stands as a beacon in the pursuit of pay equality, addressing not only gender-based wage gaps but also aiming for a more inclusive analysis across diverse identities. While challenges remain in enforcement and compliance, the move reflects a societal shift toward greater transparency in compensation, empowering employees to seek fair wages and fostering more equitable workplaces.