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Employers in British Columbia Can No Longer Require Women to Wear High Heels

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Bosses in the Canadian province of British Columbia are no longer able to force their employees to wear high heels, following an amendment to the province’s 1996 Workers Compensation Act.

A statement released by British Columbia’s government described the requirement to wear high heels in the workplace as a “health and safety issue.” It added: “There is a risk of physical injury from slipping or falling, as well as possible damage to the feet, legs and back from prolonged wearing of high heels while at work.”

The act’s amendment will ensure workplace footwear is of optimum safety to the employee, with factors including slipping, tripping, potential for musculoskeletal injury and temperature extremes all taken into account.

“This change will let employers know that the most critical part of an employee’s footwear is that it is safe,” said Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, in a statement. “I expect employers to recognize this very clear signal that forcing someone to wear high heels at work is unacceptable.”

The Canadian province’s move comes just over a month after British lawmakers discussed sexist workplace dress codes, including jobs that require women to wear high heels.


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Write to Kate Samuelson at kate.samuelson@time.com