Alberta looks at heels law
B.C. decision has Labour Minister eyeing legislation
British Columbia’s move to ban mandatory high heels in the workplace could give rise to similar changes in Alberta.
Last Friday, B.C. Premier Christy Clark announced amendments to the footwear regulation under the Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA).
Alberta Labour Minister Christina Gray told Metro she has been monitoring the developments in B.C. with interest and is committed to having a similar conversation in this province.
“(We) recognize high heels in particular can cause health and safety concerns for workers,” Gray said, and added that no woman should face discrimination at work because of her gender.
A private member’s bill introduced by B.C. Green party Leader Andrew Weaver last month would have made it illegal for employers to require women to wear high heels at work, but instead of implementing the bill, the government amended the WCB.
The amended regulation says employers cannot force workers to wear footwear with a design, construction or material that inhibits the worker’s ability to safely perform their job, and employers have to consider slipping, ankle protection, foot support, muscle or bone injuries, and electrical shock when considering mandatory footwear.
Rebecca Sullivan, professor and co-ordinator of the women’s studies program at the University of Calgary, provides gender-diversity and equity training to workplaces — including addressing discriminatory dress codes. She said women should wear heels if they want to, but they shouldn’t be a requirement for the job.
“There is no work on the planet where high heels are necessary,” Sullivan said.
“We need to start holding the employers and customers accountable for discriminatory and harassing behaviour towards women employees,” she said, pointing out that any practice which exposes an employee to an unnecessary health risk is already against the law.
“It’s up to the government to enforce the law, and it’s up to businesses to not put their workers in harm’s way for no reason.”
Gray said her ministry is currently reviewing Alberta’s labour legislation — including the Workers Compensation Act and the Employment Standards Code — and high heels will likely be part of the discussion.
“We will be looking at Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety code in the coming months,” Gray said.
“I am very interested in hearing what Albertans think about this topic.” Court appearances for the Calgary police association president and another Calgary Police Service officer have been adjourned to later this month.
Recently-elected Calgary Police Association (CPA) president, Sgt. Les Kaminiski, and Const. Brant Derrick did not appear in court Wednesday.
Defence lawyer for Derrick, Don MacLeod, appeared on behalf of his client and as an agent for Kamnski , who’s new counsel, Alain Hepner, is out of the country.
Kaminski’s previous counsel, Willie DeWitt, was recently named a Court of Queen’s Bench judge.
MacLeod asked to have both officers’ next court appearance adjourned. They will now appear April 20.
Kaminski is charged with perjury and assault with a weapon, while Derrick is facing a charge of assault causing bodily harm,
The charges stem from a 2008 traffic stop in downtown Calgary, where Jason Arkinstall was charged with uttering threats towards Derrick.
Arkinstall was acquitted in 2011 by a provincial court judge, who stated in his written decision that he didn’t consider Kaminski and Derrick to be credible witnesses.
After charges were laid against Kaminski, the CPA held another vote asking their members if they wanted him to stay on as president, in which the majority voted for him to remain in the position.
I am very interested in hearing what albertans think on this topic. Christina Gray Last Friday, B.C. announced changes to its Workers Compensation Act that ban mandatory high heel requirements in workplace dress codes.