Changes to the Regulatory Landscape in BC and ON

Posted on January 16, 2024
Changes to the Regulatory Landscape in BC and ON

by Trevor Baker

2023 marked significant changes in the Canadian human resources landscape when it comes to pay transparency, as well as requirements for salary disclosures and recruitment firm licensing. This article summarizes the key changes that employers need to know in both British Columbia and Ontario. It is anticipated that other provinces will follow suit over the next several years.

Pay Transparency in British Columbia:

British Columbia implemented the Pay Transparency Act on November 1, 2023 with the intention that the legislation will create a more equitable future for all employees. This currently active legislation requires employers to disclose wage and salary details in public job postings for roles located in British Columbia, with clear guidelines on expected compensation. Salary disclosure and reporting requirements for companies of different sizes are also outlined in the new act, with a phased in reporting approach over the next several years. If you haven’t read the act, here is a link to it:

Wage and Salary Information in Public Job Postings:

For jobs posted in British Columbia, the advertisement must include a reasonable salary range for the role. Reasonable in that it can’t be a fabricated range e.g.: zero to a million dollars. This applies to both employer advertisements on their own websites as well as third-party postings on Indeed, LinkedIn or other job boards.

Pay Transparency Reports:

Rolling out from now to 2026 based on employer size, these reports require comprehensive breakdowns, including percentages of employees receiving various compensations, mean and median rates, and an earnings-based employee ranking. Employers must make reasonable efforts to collect prescribed information while respecting employees' voluntary participation.

Pay History and Pay Secrecy:

BC employers are barred from asking about candidates' pay history, aligning with the aim of eliminating pay secrecy. Anti-retaliation provisions protect employees making inquiries or disclosing compensation information to peers and colleagues, mirroring Ontario's Pay Transparency Act.

Effect on Recruitment:

Third party agencies aren’t allowed to break these regulations on their client’s behalf.

British Columbia’s newly launched provisions are intended to level the playing field for compensation for roles, regardless of the gender or ethnicity of those that inhabit the role, while providing greater transparency to the workforce and regulators.

Ontario's Proposed Changes:

In late 2023, the Government of Ontario announced The Working for Workers Four Act, also known as Bill 149. If approved, the intention of Bill 149 is to make amendments to Ontario's Employment Standards Act which will have an impact on how jobs are posted, on pay transparency, the usage of AI in hiring decisions, the impact of Canadian work experience on job applications and on wage protection. These proposed amendments are summarized below and more information can be found at

New Requirements for Job Postings:

Bill 149 requires employers to disclose compensation details in publicly advertised job postings, mirroring BC's legislation but with fewer reporting obligations. Additionally, Ontario job postings eliminates Canadian work experience requirements. This move is intended to foster inclusivity for internationally trained immigrants. Lastly, employers must disclose in their job posts their usage of AI in hiring decisions to emphasize fairness and privacy protection. If Bill 149 passes, employers must retain copies of publicly advertised job postings for three years, ensuring a record of compliance efforts.

New Licensing Requirements for Temporary Help Agents & Recruiters

Commencing July 1, 2024, Bill 149 will introduce pivotal amendments to Ontario, with first of its kind licensing requirements for temporary help agencies and recruitment firms. The license application process began in July 2023, and clients can check whether their recruitment partners are licensed via this link:

Temporary help agencies must ensure compliance via licensing with the Ontario Government. Clients engaging with these agencies must only acquire services from licensed entities, to ensure transparency in temporary staffing, and to reduce the risk of human trafficking or the employment of unauthorized workers.

Recruitment firms are also being brought under the licensing umbrella of the Province of Ontario. Companies seeking recruitment assistance must consciously opt for licensed recruitment entities, ensuring a standardized and compliant recruitment process.

These newly implemented and upcoming measures reflect a proactive push to streamline and standardize the employment landscape in two of Canada’s largest jurisdictions. Employers, temporary help agencies, and recruiters must remain proactive and well-informed about these evolving mandates, ensuring a smooth adaptation to the new employment standards paradigm.