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Discussion – 


Discussion – 


Canadian Pay Transparency Best Practices

Global Compensation Wizard, Sean Raible from Game Plan Total Rewards Consulting stopped by with Corporate Lawyer Michelle McKinnon, a Partner with Cassels Brock & Blackburn LLP to have a chat with Tyler Hoffman, the President of OnPoint Employee Benefits to share their insights and actionable guidelines employers can do right now to get compliant, protect their brand and hire the best talent under the new PAY TRANSPARENCY LEGISLATION!

Are You Aware What Changed on May 11? It’s No Longer a Secret!

Michelle starts the webinar off by sharing what employer can no longer do around compensation.

Here’s a snapshot:

Employers cannot dismiss, suspend, demote, discipline or harass an employee who:

  • Asks their employer about their pay.
  • Reveals their pay to another employee or someone applying to work with their employer.
  • Asks the employer about its pay transparency report.
  • Gives information to the Director of Pay Transparency about their employer.



Recommendations & Guidelines to Stay Compliant

To ensure legal compliance throughout your organization, Michelle recommends:

  • Many potential people are involved in recruitment and hiring. Managers, employees employed specifically to do recruitment and hiring.
  • The focus now should be on either updating or creating resources and tools to support managers and employees so that they know what to do and what not to do.
  • Practical examples can include:
    • If you have a recruitment policy, think about updating that policy to make it clear that questions about pay history are not allowed and why
    • If you don’t have a recruitment policy, now is the time to think about implementing one and addressing these issues in that policy
    • If you have scripts or standardized interview questions that managers use, update that so that managers know not to ask about pay history and what they can ask instead
    • Again, if you don’t currently have a script of standardized interview questions, now is a good time to look into preparing that
    • Once you have your recruitment policies and interview questions updated, we strongly recommend a training sessions for managers and anyone else involved in the recruitment process – tell them about the legislation and what it says and show them how resources have been updated
    • Another immediate step we recommend is updating your Employee Handbook to make it clear that retaliation is prohibited in certain circumstances. You want to set our very clearly that employees cannot, for example, be disciplined because they shared their pay information with another employee or because the employee raised concerns about the company’s compliance with the legislation.
    • And then again, we recommend training to employees about these changes. Especially managers who are often directly involved in discipline issues.


How Employers Can Approach Posting Pay Ranges

Sean mentions, there has been definite push back on organizations that either don’t post at all OR post extremely wide ranges that are not realistic.

We have also seen where if not thought out and planned – that current employees will see posted ranges for other roles and ask questions and potentially think they are underpaid – so you need to be prepared in HR, as a leadership team ,and your direct management team.

Ultimately it is about providing a realistic hiring range (not the full band/to the max) if it is not set rate compensation model.


Outside Looking In – Don’t Forget About Internal Impacts!

Sean’s wizardry towards compensation left him sharing this PURE GOLD framework for you to follow:

Here he walks you through compensation practices internally to enable them to post pay information!

  • Conduct a Salary/Pay Audit
    1. How are current employees paid today? Any internal equity issues – tenure, performance, time in role, etc. vs salary
    2. Do you have a compensation philosophy, solid job level structure and pay range system?
    3. Are your ranges up-to-date? When was the last time they were updated?  
    4. What do you currently use for hiring ranges and how do you budget for openings??
    5. What information re: pay does the organization have at different levels? HR, Mgrs, EEs?
    6. What are your peers/competitors doing?
  • Build/Update Comp Program/Structure
    1. If you have a compensation philosophy, solid job levelling and pay structures, then move to next step…
    2. If not then suggest build something as soon as you can and in interim use data you have job title, actuals, external positings for similar roles, budget $s for the roles to create an interim ‘hiring range’
    3. Draft a Pay Transparency policy
  • Leadership Buy-In HR + Leadership team and review your findings, and decide what is your ideal level of transparency (internally and externally) and agree on your approach and finalize the policy.
  • Rollout your pay transparency policy
  1. Start with your leaders, managers, and HR/recruiting teams together – explain to them they why/context, and how your organization will be moving forward and meeting the requirements, etc
  2. Then it is important to provide employees the right level of communication on what they may see, and how compensation works at your organization – most don’t have time for this right away so it is about clear communications and FAQs, and more training/comms can come later. It is an opportunity to remind employees of all the programs you have beyond pay, where they can go if they have questions, etc
  • Build in a monitor/review process and regulary check how the process and pay ranges are working, e.g. what questions are coming from leaders, managers, employees and candidates!


Reporting Requirements? Yep 🙁

We asked Michelle in terms of posting pay information, are there any legal requirements or restrictions on what employers should or should not post?

The legislation itself does not provide much guidance other than saying an employer must post the expected pay or pay range. The BC Government has published guidelines on posting pay information and based on those guidelines we know the following:

Employers above a certain size will be required to complete and post pay transparency reports by November 1st of each year. This requirement will apply in stages over the next four years:

  • 2023: B.C. government and the six largest Crown corporations, which are BC Hydro, BC Housing, BC Lottery Corp., BC Transit, ICBC, and Work Safe BC
  • 2024: all employers with 1,000 employees or more
  • 2025: all employers with 300 employees or more
  • 2026: all employers with 50 employees or more

Employers will be required to collect gender information from their employees according to the new Gender and Sex Data Standard in order complete the Pay Transparency Report. Employers will also be required to allow their employees to voluntarily update the information annually.

Employers will be required to use this information to complete a Pay Transparency Report, with the assistance of a reporting tool that the Ministry will introduce under Regulation. The Ministry will consult employer groups and payroll associations in developing this tool and share it with employers.

Employers will be required to post their pay transparency reports on their websites. If they do not have a website, they will be required to post it in a conspicuous place in the workplace and to make it available upon request by a member of the public.

I’m currently working with the Ministry on a reporting tool and we plan to host a webinar for employers on how to use this tool. It is currently in testing and we hope to roll it out by May/June this year.

The Non Legal Consequences Are Likely More Impactful

Employees are watching theier Employer all the time. So we asked Sean “do you think there are any non-legal consequences for employers not complying?”

I think the issue to comment on is message it sends to prospective employees and your current employees and missing out on attracting top talent]

Some of the commentary I’ve heard from clients and colleagues out there is there is a risk that if you are not compliant, vs your competitors – it may sway applicants to not apply at your organization AND may for your current staff be left wondering why their organization is not complying? 

It is better to send some communication even if it is that it is being worked on and if you have questions , where to go (but prepare your managers with FAQs and Scripts).

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