The Canadian province of British Colombia has banned employers from forcing women to wear high heels.
Local government has ruled that employers can no longer enforce dress codes that require employees to wear high heels.
The BC government argues that the requirement to wear high heels in some workplaces is a workplace health and safety issue. They argue that there is a risk of physical injury from slipping or falling, as well as possible damage to feet, legs and back from prolonged wearing of high heels at work.
The ban comes after Green Party leader, Andrew Weaver pushed through a bill to prevent employers from setting gender-based footwear requirements.
The new regulations mean that workplace footwear must be “of a design, construction and material that allows the worker to safely perform their work”. Footwear must also be considered against factors such as slipping, tripping, ankle protection, crushing potential and puncture hazards, amongst others.
Speaking about the new legislation, Premier Christy Clark said, “In some workplaces in our province, women are required to wear high heels on the job.”
“Like most British Columbians, our government thinks this is wrong.”
“That is why we’re changing this regulation to stop this unsafe and discriminatory practice and adding an enforcement element by WorkSafeBC.”
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour also added, “I’ve like to recognise and thank Dr. Weaver for working with us on amending this regulation.”
“This change will let employers know that the most critical part of an employee’s footwear is that it is safe.”
“I expect employers to recognise this very clear signal that forcing someone to wear high heels at work is unacceptable.”