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BC Government kicks workplace high heels to the curb

The province made good on its promise to ban mandatory high heels in the workplace today.

Informal requirements to wear high heels came under fire in the legislature last month but a private member’s bill on the subject was not passed.

“We made a commitment to follow up on the work that MLA Andrew Weaver brought to the legislature,” says Shirley Bond, MLA for Prince George-Valemount. “An order in Council has been passed, which makes it very clear that requiring someone to wear high heels at work is wrong. It is not only discriminatory but it can be unsafe.”

High heels are considered something of a health and safety issue due to a risk of physical injury from slipping or falling and Bond says that’s how the government has approached it.

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“We’re amending our occupational health and safety regulations. I think this is a very strong message – that employers now know that the most critical part of an employee’s footwear must be that it is safe.”

The amended regulation ensures workplace footwear is designed to allow employees to safely perform their job.

WorkSafeBC is developing a guidelines for workers and employers, which are expected to be available by the end of April. Bond says this will create the possibility for prevention officers to proactively enforce the regulations.

“This is one of the things that will be something that they look at as they inspect. It also means that people who have concerns can report their concerns anonymously to Work Safe. We will have the framework in place to ensure that it’s clear to employers what the expectations are.”

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