The footwear revolt in Canada is starting to make some strides. (Not sorry.)
On Friday, after much urging from the public, and human rights activists, the government of British Columbia banned employers from forcing high heels on their workers.
Heavy use of high heels can, obviously, fuck up your feet and body pretty badly. The shoes can cause bleeding, mess with your posture, cause your toenails to fall off—you get the drift, they cause an uncomfortably long list of unpleasant effects.
In Canada, the footwear revolt has been brewing in the country for some time now. Petitions have been generating thousands of signatures and the controversy forced Earls, a popular restaurant chain, to change their dress code policy after photos of one worker's bloody feet when viral.
In March, the leader of the BC's Green Party, Andrew Weaver, filed a bill that focused on the gender inequality of footwear in the workplace that would prevent employers from "setting varying footwear and other requirements based on gender, gender expression or gender identity." The government didn't accept Weaver's bill but they did make changes to the provinces existing regulations and Weaver did get thanked by the government in the end for his efforts.
The government stated that high heels in the workplace was a safety hazard as they cause the wearer, at times, to shred their feet and also increase the workers risk at falling at work. In a statement, BC Premier Christy Clark said that forcing employees to wear high heels was "unsafe and discriminatory."
"In some workplaces in our province, women are required to wear high heels on the job," said Clark. "Like most British Columbians, our government thinks this is wrong."
To create the change the government amended the existing footwear regulation in the province's workers' compensation act. The amendment ensures that workplace footwear is "of a design, construction and material that allows the worker to safely perform their work." Furthermore, by the end of April WorkSafeBC, the province's workers compensation board, will draft a guideline to support the amendment.
The province's labour minister, Shirley Bond, said that she expects "employers to recognize this very clear signal that forcing someone to wear high heels at work is unacceptable."
While it is only a small step towards gender equality in Canada's workplaces, at least it's a step that won't make your toenails fall off.
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