News release

Government Addressing Gender Wage Gap

Nova Scotians deserve the opportunity to grow and thrive in workplaces that value fairness and equality. That is why government is taking action to address the gender wage gap.

Amendments to the Labour Standards Code introduced today, Feb. 20, will help ensure that the salary of a woman who may be paid less than her male counterpart doing the same work, will not follow her throughout her career. The amendments will also expand the equal pay provisions currently in the Labour Standards Code to employees who do not identify exclusively, or at all, as men or women.

“These changes represent a simple principle – equal pay for equal work,” said Minister of Labour and Advanced Education Labi Kousoulis. “This is an important step toward narrowing the gender wage gap in our province and ensuring all Nova Scotians are paid what they deserve.”

Research has shown that greater transparency in wage information leads to a smaller gender pay gap. The proposed amendments will allow individuals to have greater access to pay information when accepting or discussing compensation for a new job. They will also prohibit employers from inquiring about the wage history of a job applicant or employee, as well as prohibit employers from barring employees from discussing or disclosing their own wages or those of other employees.

The changes will also allow government to expand through regulations the equal pay provisions to employees who possess certain characteristics, such as those related to race and ethnicity.

Additionally, the amendments will allow government to make regulations related to administrative penalties to provide the department with the ability to ensure compliance with the Labour Standards Code.

If passed, the amendments would take effect in the spring.

Quotes:

“Gender equality not only benefits women and girls, it benefits the whole province,” said Kelly Regan, minister responsible for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women. “It’s important to have legislative and policy frameworks in place that support gender equality in the workforce.”

Quick Facts:

  • in Nova Scotia, women comprise over 51 per cent of the population and evidence shows that they are more likely to earn the lowest wages
  • based on the average employment income of all workers in Nova Scotia, women earn $0.73 for every $1 earned by men (2017)
  • these amendments are part of government’s commitment to address the complex and structural challenges to advancing gender equality
  • other initiatives include Standing Together, an initiative to build a provincial action plan to prevent domestic violence, the introduction of domestic violence leave, and amendments to parental leave

Additional Resources:

Nova Scotia’s Labour Standards Code can be found here: https://nslegislature.ca/sites/default/files/legc/statutes/labour%20standards%20code.pdf

Human Rights Act (which identifies gender identity as a protected ground from discrimination) – https://nslegislature.ca/sites/default/files/legc/statutes/human%20rights.pdf

The Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women: https://women.gov.ns.ca//

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Media Contact:

Shannon Kerr
Cell: 902-717-6061 Email: