In a groundbreaking move designed to foster transparency in the labor market, the Government of Ontario has proposed legislation that will compel employers to disclose salary figures in job postings. This move is expected to have a significant impact on job seekers, allowing them to have clearer insights into their potential earnings.
The forthcoming “Working for Workers” legislation is set to be introduced in the week of November 14th, as Members of Provincial Parliament convene at Queen’s Park. According to CTV News Toronto, Labour Minister David Piccini is a staunch advocate for this change, asserting the benefits it will yield for job applicants. “When worker salaries are kept secret, there’s only one beneficiary and that’s businesses,” Piccini emphasized. “How many times have people applied for jobs just to find out at the end of the process that it’s nowhere near the salary range they were looking for?”
While specifics on the salary range requirements will be fine-tuned post a consultation period, Minister Piccini acknowledges the importance of establishing a range that is neither too broad to hinder transparency nor too narrow to be unrealistic. Additionally, the government may initially focus on salaries below the $100,000 mark, addressing the transparency needs of the majority of workers who earn below six figures. “It’s working class workers who don’t earn six-figure salaries, they want to know what those ranges are as they take that exciting next step to apply for a job to get a better job and a bigger paycheck,” Piccini stated.
Ontario is not alone in this endeavor to legislate wage transparency. Earlier this year, British Columbia announced similar requirements for wage or salary information to be included in job listings and took a stand against employers seeking pay history from job seekers.
A report from the International Labour Organization in 2022 highlights the potential of pay transparency policies to expose wage disparities among different demographic groups. Following this lead, several cities in the United States have also enacted legislation that mandates the inclusion of salary ranges in job postings.
Moreover, the new legislation in Ontario will also address the evolving intersection between technology and recruitment. Employers will be mandated to inform job seekers if artificial intelligence is utilized during the hiring process. This disclosure is a response to the “increasing reality” of AI in workplaces, noted Minister Piccini. As per Statistics Canada, as of February, seven percent of businesses in Ontario are planning to adopt AI within the coming year.
Piccini pointed out concerns around inherent biases being magnified by technology and privacy issues. However, he also indicated that studies have shown AI can be instrumental in addressing pay equity during the hiring process. “Let’s be transparent with workers in knowing that it’s being used,” he advocated.
If passed, the legislation will position Ontario as the first jurisdiction in Canada to require businesses to disclose the use of AI in their hiring practices, marking a significant step in employment policy and technology usage transparency.
The proposed measures are set to open new avenues in the labor market, potentially influencing the dynamics of job hunting and hiring across various sectors. Job seekers in Ontario could soon enter the market with a much clearer picture of where they stand, financially and technologically.