WATCH: Premier Clark promises to end high heel requirements for women in workplaces, after Green Party introduces bill to amend Workers Compensation Act. Isabelle Raghem reports.
Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver says he was shocked when he learned many female servers and hosts in B.C. restaurants are required to wear heels.
“It’s 2017, how is this a thing? Let’s get with the program.”
Weaver introduced a bill to amend the Workers Compensation Act, to ban employers from requiring staff to heels based on gender.
“This means a restaurant could require all employees to wear a certain dress code,” he explains, “so you’d have to have the men and women wear high heels.”
Kaitlyn Matulewicz, who runs the Retail Action Network, says in her early teens she was once told to by a restaurant manager to “dress in classy provocative manner.”
“My concern is when it is not as choice. When it’s a condition of your work that you have to wear high heels or you have to wear a skirt without nylons in order to get the position,” explains Matulewicz.
Other workplace requirements such as skirts and low cut tops won’t be affected by the bill, but the Green Party Leader says he’ll be looking into ways to address them in the future.
“It’s hard to make a case [to those] other aspects based on health and safety, but with footwear, it’s a easy case,” explains Weaver.
Over the weekend, Premier Christy Clark posted on social media her support for Weaver’s bill.
She posted on Facebook: “In some workplaces in BC, women are still required to wear high heels on the job. This isn’t just old-fashioned; in 2017, it’s unacceptable,” and,”I agree with Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head and the BC Restaurant & Foodservices Association that this practice needs to stop. Government will take action to do exactly that.”