Ontario employers will be required to include salary ranges, disclose use of AI in hiring under proposed legislation
Employers in Ontario will be required to include salary ranges in job postings under new legislation that will be introduced soon.
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, according to a press release from the province.
“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 87 cents for every dollar earned by men – a number that is worse for racialized and Indigenous women, it said. 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, it said.
Use of AI
The province noted that AI tools and algorithms can generate high volumes of personal data about job applicants and employees. They can also make employment decisions that “affect people’s lives,” it said.
Citing growing concerns about ethical, legal, and privacy implications of AI, Ontario is proposing to require employers to inform jobseekers when the technology is being used to make decisions in the hiring process.
Use of NDAs for harassment, violence being curtailed
The province noted that 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, it said.
“The consultations will identify legislative options to restrict the use of NDAs while protecting the rights of victims and survivors,” said 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.
- 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).
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