[Canada] Pay transparency plays key role in addressing wage inequality

[Canada] Pay transparency plays key role in addressing wage inequality
01 Feb 2022

Advocates for equal pay in Canada say wage transparency remains in the spotlight because Canadian companies need to reassess their hiring and retention practices in the wake of the widespread labour shortage, Eminetra reports.

Aside from public sector and union roles, salaries in North America have long been seen as a private issue between employers and employees. Job listings do not tend to disclose compensation and money issues will often not arise at the interview stage or beyond.

However, an increasing number of advocates are arguing that this practice needs to change; not only to address gender and racial equality issues but also to keep talented employees in the workforce.

Allison Venditti - founder of MomsatWork - said the organisation defends women in the workforce. “And they would think it was ridiculous.”

Moms At Work has launched an online job board. This job board fully discloses the salary range of the role in every job advertisement. Wage transparency is one way to tackle the issue of wage inequality in society, so a job board like this is needed, Ms Venditti said.

“Females and people are on significantly lower wages. We know this,” Venditti said. “We’ve been talking about wage inequality forever and from day to day, and this is one of the fastest ways to help fix it.”

In some jurisdictions, there is already a trend for wage transparency. Colorado has legislation that requires employers to clearly state salary coverage in all classified ads and a similar law will take effect in New York City this spring.

In 2021, the Government of Canada passed the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act. Ultimately, this will require the disclosure of wage inequality data for women, indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, and visible minority members in all federal-regulated workplaces with more than 100 employees.

“This is something companies have to start preparing,” Laura Machan - a recruitment partner for global dispatch company LHH in Toronto - said. “Partly because both the federal and state governments are starting to demand it, and partly because it’s part of the board’s ESG goals to become a better corporate citizen.”

The issue is complicated, Ms Macan said. Many companies cannot start posting salary ranges without first doing a lot of internal work.

“Imagine one of your long-term and highly valued employees seeing their work posts 10 per cent higher,” she said. “Before getting into the job listings section, I think there’s a lot to do to make sure your company’s payroll framework is fair.”

Non-profit FoodShare Toronto is one of the employers that has already disclosed their salaries in classified ads. Katie German - director of FoodShare advocacy and programs - said the organisation has seen a steady increase in job seekers since adopting this policy.

“We actually have a policy of not negotiating salaries, but we are employers of living wages in that no one working here earns less than $24 an hour.” Ms German said.

“I think one of the reasons many employers don’t have wage transparency is because they know they pay too little. If you’re embarrassed to post a payroll, it’s more than you. It’s a clear sign that we need to improve. “

Source: Eminetra

(Quotes via original reporting