In Canada can an employer require its employees not to discuss wages (either internal or external of the company)? What if the employee signed a confidentiality agreement where they agreed not to discuss wages? I would really appreciate citation from authoritative sources.


In Canada can employer force employees not to discuss wage?

No. That would violate Section 74(1) of the Employment Standards Act, 2000:

No employer or person acting on behalf of an employer shall intimidate, dismiss or otherwise penalize an employee or threaten to do so,

(a) because the employee,

(v.2) discloses the employee’s rate of pay to another employee for the purpose of determining or assisting another person in determining whether an employer is complying with Part XII (Equal Pay for Equal Work)

See also Section 74.12(1)(a)(v.2).

What if the employee signed a confidentiality agreement where they agreed not to discuss wages?

The agreement would be void in that regard. See Section 5 of the same Standards:

[...] [N]o employer or agent of an employer and no employee or agent of an employee shall contract out of or waive an employment standard and any such contracting out or waiver is void.

The allowed exceptions are any clauses that provide a greater benefit to an employee than the employment standard (see 5(2)).

  • 2
    I'll note this law is specific to Ontario. The OP does specify that as their province of interest in the tags, though, so it's a good answer. It's just not in the text of the post itself, which seems to ask about Canada in general, if anyone else gets briefly confused. Jun 25 '19 at 17:30
  • 1
    @zibadawatimmy Thanks for highlighting that. Yes, the title and post read Canada, although the tag Ontario was there from the start, which is why I searched for Ontario statutes (as opposed to Quebec or British Columbia, for example). On this issue, it is very likely that other Canadian provinces have a similar legislative provision, as is the case with multiple jurisdictions in the US. Jun 25 '19 at 19:43
  • @IñakiViggers I'm really not sure if it's that uniform across the provinces. I think you should specify somewhere in this answer that you are basing this off an act that only applies provincially in Ontario. The wording completely implies that this is Canadian law, not specific to Ontario.
    – JMac
    Feb 26 at 14:31

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