Ontario Introduces Pay Transparency Legislation - Retail Council of Canada

Ontario Introduces Pay Transparency Legislation

Ontario recently passed legislation to increase transparency in the hiring process.

Starting on January 1, 2019, Ontario will:

  • 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 – including:
    – Makes an inquiry about his or her compensation
    – Discloses his or her compensation to another employee
    – Makes inquiries about a pay transparency report filed with the Ministry of Labour
    – Gives information to the Ministry of Labour about his or her employer’s compliance or noncompliance with the Act; or
    – Asks his or her employer to comply with the Act.
  • 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.
  • There will be a one-year limitation period on employer liability for breaches of the Act.

By May 15 of each year, employers with 100 or more employees in Ontario will be required to file a pay transparency report with the Ministry of Labour. Although the regulations specifying what must be included in employers’ reports have yet to be written, the Act states that an employer will be required to report its workforce demographic composition, as well as differences in compensation in relation to gender and other prescribed characteristics (which have still not been determined).

  • Employers with 250 or more employees in Ontario must submit their first pay transparency reports by May 15, 2020.
  • Employers with 100–249 employees must file their first reports by May 15, 2021.
  • The pay transparency reports must be posted “online or in at least one conspicuous place in every workplace of the employer” in Ontario.
  • The ministry will publish all pay transparency reports that are filed. It is expected the reports will be published online.

Next Steps:

Until Regulations are drafted, there is very little in the way of guidance as to the categories (besides gender) for which an employer must track differences in compensation and report them to the minister, and what other information employers will need to file in their reports to the minister. As the earliest reporting deadline is not until 2020, employers have time to plan based on what the regulations will prescribe.

Retailers may want to consider how they may need to change their job postings and their compensation negotiation strategies to comply with this new law. The prohibition on asking about compensation history and the requirement to provide information about expected compensation or a range of expected compensation will come into force on January 1, 2019.


The legislation is the central piece of Then Now Next: Ontario’s Strategy for Women’s Economic Empowerment, which will help remove long-standing barriers that have kept women from benefiting equally in Ontario’s rapidly changing economy.

Over the Summer, Retail Council of Canada will participate in the consultation process for the drafting of regulations to ensure retail concerns are addressed.