Alberta employers can no longer force staff to wear high heels

By Jessie Weisner
November 30, 2018 - 11:52am Updated: November 30, 2018 - 3:43pm

Alberta workplaces can no longer force their employees to wear high heels.

In an announcement this morning at an Edmonton restaurant, Alberta Labour Minister Christina Gray, said safety issues like tripping, foot conditions and muscular injuries are the reason change.

“These changes were absolutely inspired by the workers who have contacted us and shared their stories,” says minister Christina Gray. “I know from conversations with them that banning mandatory high heel policies in the workplace is going to help women avoid long lasting injuries and pain.”

Lisa Caputo, co-owner of Cibo Bistro in Edmonton hosted the announcement. She worked for a restaurant that required her to wear high heels for five years.

“In her fifth year she realized her other shoes were not fitting her feet anymore because her feet had shifted because of the 8 hour days in high heels,” says minister Gray. “She now has permanent foot damage that she may need to get surgery to try to repair, and every day now she’s aware of the damage that was done to her feet.”

Minister Gray says although the requirement to wear high heels in a workplace is rare, it does still go on today.

“A lot of employers have already shifted their policies, but based on the stories from workers we know they still exist, and that’s why today we’ve brought in this change to help women avoid long lasting injuries and pain.”

Alberta’s occupational health and safety code will now eliminate employers ability to force their staff to wear shoes that could pose risks.

The change goes into effect on January 1 2019.

The changes put Alberta in line with Ontario and British Columbia, who passed similar legislation last year.

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