This morning, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced Then Now Next: Ontario’s Strategy for Women’s Economic Empowerment, an ambitious new strategy to help remove long-standing barriers that have kept women from benefiting equally in Ontario’s rapidly changing economy. This strategy is a first for Canada, with Ontario becoming the first province to create a strategy focused on initiatives to advance women’s economic development, empowerment and build fair, better workplaces.
The first step of this multi-faced strategy includes the introduction of standalone legislation to increase transparency in hiring processes and give women more information when negotiating fairer compensation that is equal to their male peers, by requiring certain employers to track and publish information about compensation in their organizations.
If passed, the legislation introduced today would help ensure compensation is based on a job’s requirements and the candidate’s qualifications. Specifically, it would:
Require all publicly advertised job postings to include a salary rate or range
Bar employers from asking a job candidate about their past compensation
Prohibit reprisals against employees who discuss or disclose compensation
Establish a framework to require larger employers to track and report compensation gaps based on gender and other diversity characteristics, to be determined through consultation. Once fully implemented, these measures would require employers to publicly post that data within their own workplaces, in addition to reporting them to the province.
The proposed legislation is the central piece of Then Now Next: Ontario’s Strategy for Women’s Economic Empowerment, which also includes up to $50 million in funding over three years.
The strategy will also:
Advocate for furtherenhancements to parental benefit entitlements
Expand and strengthen women’s centres, which provide skills training and a variety of supports to women — including immigrant, racialized and women experiencing, or at risk of, violence
Reinforce measures to promote women in corporate leadership
Increase women’s access to training and mentorship opportunities
Better support women entrepreneurs — including helping young women develop an entrepreneurial mindset, and creatingtheOntario Women’s Entrepreneurship Association
Launch a social awareness campaign to break down gender stereotypes and promote gender equality at work, at home and in communities.