It's Now Illegal For B.C. Employers To Require Women To Wear Heels

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VICTORIA — The British Columbia government has banned mandatory high heels in the workplace in a move to address "discriminatory" dress codes.

Labour Minister Shirley Bond says requiring women to wear high heels on the job is also a health and safety issue.

Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver introduced a private member's bill last month on International Women's Day, making it illegal for employers to require women to wear high heels.

Instead of implementing the bill, the government amended the footwear regulation under the Workers Compensation Act.

andrew weaver
Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver tabled a private member's bill last month to ban employers from requiring women to wear high heels. (Photo: Green Party of B.C.)

A news release says employers must ensure shoes prevent slipping, electrical shock and muscle or bone injuries, and provide ankle protection and foot support.

Premier Christy Clark says they're changing the regulation to stop the unsafe and discriminatory practice and are adding an enforcement element by WorkSafeBC.

Guidelines for employers and employees will be developed by WorkSafeBC, the body that oversees worker safety in the province, and are expected to be available by the end of the month.

The Ontario Human Rights Commission put forward a policy position last year saying employers that requiring female staff to wear high heels, low-cut tops or short skirts could violate the human rights code.