Tuesday, September 26, 2017

High heel dress code scrapped in Canadian province of British Columbia

  • Roving Correspondent, Toronto, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2017-04-09 21:46:18 BdST

bdnews24
Representational Image: A woman walks in heavy rain caused by typhoon Etau in Tokyo's business district September 9, 2015. Reuters

The Canadian province of British Columbia (BC) has scrapped the dress code which requires female employees to wear high heels.

The provincial government says the requirement is ‘discriminatory’ as well as being a health and safety issue because they are dangerous.

It says that “high heel wearers face a risk of physical injury from slipping or falling as well as possible damage to the feet, legs and back.”

Footwear should be designed to allow workers to operate safely, it says.

BC is one of the 10 Canadian provinces located along the Pacific coastline. The province has around 4.6 million population with a large number of Asian expatriates.

High heels and whether women should be required to wear them in the workplace has become a fashion flashpoint in recent years.

BC Premier Christy Clark said that women were unfairly required to wear high heels in some provincial workplaces.

"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," she said.

The decision of the ban comes after a provincial Green Party politician in March introduced a bill in the BC legislature aimed at preventing employers from setting gender-based footwear requirements.

BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver filed a private member's bill "designed to prevent employers from setting varying footwear and other requirements based on gender, gender expression or gender identity".

His bill covered all workplaces, including retail and corporate offices. But instead of implementing it, the provincial government opted instead to amend footwear rules under the Workers' Compensation Act, according to media reports.

The new regulation states that workplace footwear must be of "design, construction and material that allows the worker to perform their work safely and ensures that employers cannot require footwear contrary to this standard".

The new guidelines, drafted by WorkSafeBC, are expected to be available by the end of April.