Salary transparency is a popular topic of discussion lately. New laws are in the process of being passed in Ontario that require more transparency from employers, particularly around salary ranges in job ads. There is an influx of online salary research tools and employees are demanding fairness and want to know if they’re being paid competitively.

According to the Province of Ontario, public job ads listed a salary range 37% of the time in 2022. This number remains consistent today. However, this could soon change. 

As a Toronto recruiter with extensive experience working with companies and candidates during the hiring process, I can tell you that salaries have been a bit of a taboo topic. Companies and candidates both try to wait each other out to see who will reveal their compensation numbers first. But that’s changing. Below, I’ll discuss the rise of salary transparency and what this can mean for you. 

What Is Salary Transparency?

Salary transparency, also known as pay or wage transparency, is the practice of openly sharing compensation information with job candidates. This can involve:

  • Including salary ranges in job postings
  • Disclosing how salaries are determined within a company
  • Sharing average salaries for certain positions
  • Allowing employees to discuss their salaries with each other (to a certain extent)

The level of transparency differs from organization to organization with the main goal to create openness and trust regarding pay practices.

What is Bill 149?

Bill 149, officially known as the Working for Workers Four Act, is proposed legislation in the province of Ontario. It was introduced in November 2023 to further protect employee rights. One of the key parts of this bill is wage protection. It introduces pay transparency by requiring employers to include salary ranges in job postings. 

As of March 5, 2024, Bill 149 is still undergoing the legislative process. If passed, Ontario will join PEI, Newfoundland, and British Columbia as provinces with pay transparency laws in effect. 

Why salary conversations are starting to occur earlier in the hiring process

As a result of new potential laws coming into pay, greater emphasis has been placed on compensation transparency during the recruitment process. Being transparent not only promotes pay equity, it can also help you attract top talent by building trust with them. 

According to a survey, here’s when companies currently share salary ranges:

  • In the job post (27%)
  • In job posts, but only when required by law (18%)
  • During the interview process (27%)
  • With the job offer (10%)
  • Other (18%)

Starting the salary conversation earlier in the hiring process also helps to eliminate a potential letdown for either side later on. Considerable work goes into the interview process. Companies eliminate other candidates and often focus on one or two top candidates. On the other hand, candidates focus their efforts on interview preparation. When you get deep into the hiring process both sides can get their hopes up. That is until you find out you are way off on salary numbers. 

Having the salary conversation earlier on in the hiring process can eliminate this situation. Companies can make the salary range clear, and if a candidate doesn’t agree, they can choose not to apply or disengage early on. Both sides can then move on. 

Salary transparency is a complex. However, it’s an increasingly important topic as employees look for more fairness and openness in the workplace. The benefits of pay transparency are significant. It can lead to a more equitable, trusting, and productive workplace for both employers and employees.


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Peter Zukow Executive Search

Peter Zukow

Peter is a Partner at IQ PARTNERS, leading our strategic growth & geographic expansion. As an executive search leader he is a trusted advisor to clients, colleagues, and business partners. As a business leader he thrives on challenge, inspires those around him to achieve their full potential, and has led many high performing teams to success.

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