Ontario Government to Impose New Employer Obligations on Salary Ranges and AI Usage in Hiring Process
Employers in Ontario need to be prepared for upcoming legislative changes as the Ontario Government has recently announced its intention to introduce new obligations for employers. The proposed legislation, if passed, will require employers to disclose expected salary ranges in job postings and also disclose the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the hiring process. Additionally, the government plans to conduct consultations on the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in cases of workplace sexual harassment, misconduct, or violence.
The main aim of requiring employers to include expected salary ranges in job postings is to address the gender pay gap and provide job seekers with more information to guide their career choices. The specific details of this requirement have not been released yet, but the full text of the proposed legislation is expected to be introduced in the week of November 14, alongside amendments to the Working for Workers series of acts.
While this will be Ontario’s latest attempt at introducing pay transparency legislation, other provinces have already implemented similar requirements. British Columbia and Prince Edward Island (PEI) already have laws in place that mandate the publication of expected pay ranges on job postings and prohibit employers from seeking pay history information from applicants. Nova Scotia prohibits the collection of pay history information from applicants as well. These requirements were added to the employment standards legislation of the respective provinces. British Columbia’s pay transparency requirements came into effect on November 1, 2023, under the Pay Transparency Act.
The proposed disclosure obligation related to the use of AI in the hiring process is a response to concerns about the ethical, legal, and privacy implications of AI. At this stage, it remains unclear whether employers will only have to disclose the fact of AI usage or provide more detailed information about how, when, and why AI is utilized in the hiring process. The full details of this requirement will likely be included in the proposed legislation.
Consultations on the potential ban of NDAs in cases of workplace sexual harassment, misconduct, or violence are still at an early stage. The purpose of these consultations is to explore legislative options that can restrict the use of NDAs to ensure accountability for perpetrators while safeguarding the rights of victims and survivors. Many employers include confidentiality or non-disclosure clauses in settlement agreements relating to workplace misconduct. If legislation restricts the use of these clauses, employers may no longer be able to include terms that explicitly prohibit discussion of alleged harassment, misconduct, or violence in settlement agreements.
The Ontario Government has not yet provided details on how interested parties can participate in the consultations regarding the use of NDAs.
Employers should be prepared to comply with the new legislation by implementing necessary policies and reporting mechanisms. Further guidance is expected once the legislation is formally introduced in the legislature. Employers should consider the recent government announcement as an early indication of the upcoming changes.
This development will be closely monitored, and employers are encouraged to consult with their legal advisors or members of the Labour and Employment Group at BLG for any questions or concerns.
About BLG: BLG is a leading full-service Canadian law firm with expertise in various areas, including labour and employment law.
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