The Ontario government will soon introduce legislation that, if passed, would require employers to include expected salary ranges in job postings, giving workers more information to make informed decisions in their career search. In addition, the legislation would make Ontario the first jurisdiction in Canada to require businesses to disclose if artificial intelligence (AI) is used during their hiring process.
“At a time when many companies are posting record profits, it is only fair they communicate transparently about how they pay workers,” said David Piccini, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “And as the use of artificial intelligence in Ontario skyrockets, our government will continue to take action to ensure workers aren’t excluded from the job market because of technological biases and that their privacy rights are protected.”
Women in Ontario earn an average of $0.87 for every dollar earned by men – a number that is worse for racialized and Indigenous women. Including salary ranges with job postings can help close the gender pay gap while allowing companies to find qualified candidates more quickly and improve retention, helping tackle the nearly 250,000-person labour shortage.
“As a charity that provides employment training programs to diverse job seekers, we recognize that increasing transparency and privacy in the workplace will benefit all job seekers. Including salary information in job postings can improve the hiring process by attracting more relevant candidates, streamlining recruitment, and enhancing trust and transparency. And as AI becomes more prevalent in the recruitment process, it is crucial to consider potential challenges and ethical concerns when using AI in applicant screening. These include issues related to data privacy, algorithmic bias, and the potential for excluding highly qualified candidates who might not fit a specific mold or profile. As the Ministry continues its work in making job searches more transparent and equitable for the people of Ontario, this announcement is a positive step forward.”
– David Allen,
President & CEO, YMCA of Central East Ontario
AI tools and algorithms are being adopted by Ontario businesses at a rapid rate and generate high volumes of personal data about job applicants and employees. Increasingly, they may also make employment decisions that affect people’s lives. In response to growing concerns about the ethical, legal and privacy implications of AI, Ontario is proposing to require employers to inform job seekers when it is used to inform decisions in the hiring process.
Unfortunately, seven in 10 workers have reported experiencing a form of harassment or violence in the workplace – rates that increase for women and gender-diverse workers. To help end workplace misconduct and hold abusers to account, the government will also be conducting consultations and detailed analysis on ending the use of Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) in the settlement of cases of workplace sexual harassment, misconduct or violence.
“The consultations will identify legislative options to restrict the use of NDAs while protecting the rights of victims and survivors,” said Minister Piccini. “It’s past time we end a practice that allows businesses to shelter the behaviour of some of the worst members of our communities.”
These changes are part of a larger package that, if passed, would expand on the ground-breaking actions introduced in the Working for Workers Acts, 2021, 2022 and 2023, which will be unveiled in the coming days to protect workers, help them earn bigger paycheques, and help newcomers contribute to building Ontario.
- Thirty-seven per cent of online job postings in Ontario (2022) included salary information.
- In February 2023, Statistics Canada reported that close to seven per cent of all businesses in Ontario were planning to adopt AI over the next 12 months.
- The Ministry of the Attorney General, the Treasury Board Secretariat and the Ministry of Colleges and Universities recently restricted the use of NDAs in post-secondary institutions.
- In addition, the government is proposing changes to clarify vacation pay provisions to ensure employees are aware that their written agreement is required if vacation pay is paid in any way other than a lump sum before their vacation.
- The government is also proposing changes to the Digital Platform Workers’ Rights Act, 2022 (DPWRA) that would create a regulatory authority to provide greater flexibility on how pay based on minimum wage must be determined. These changes would allow for greater alignment with the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA).