B.C. Set To Be First In North America To Ban Mandatory High Heels

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David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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A private member’s bill in British Columbia, Canada — which has the provincial premier’s support — will soon make it illegal for employers in the province to require high heels for their female staff. The plan is to ban the practice on the basis that it violates the provincial safety code.

It would make B.C. the first jurisdiction in North America to stop the practice.

B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver is introducing the bill but provincial Premier Christy Clark is supporting it. “Women should not be forced to wear high heels by their employers,” Clark said at a press conference on Monday. “It is not fair.”

“It’s a no brainer. I can’t think of a compelling argument anywhere to say restaurant owners should be allowed to require women to wear high heels in a restaurant,” Weaver told The Canadian Press. “It just doesn’t make sense.”

Under the new legislation, high heels would not banned but businesses could force women to wear them to work — unless they enforced the rules for everyone, male and female.

There is a similar move — afoot — in the United Kingdom, where a bill that would also lift high heeled requirements from the workplace is being debated in the British parliament last week.

 The demand for change began when a receptionist was told to leave work in December 2015 because she came in wearing flats instead of her usual heels.
Nicola Thorp was under orders form her employment agency to report to the office wearing “opaque tights,” having her hair so that it showed “no visible roots,” showing “regularly re-applied” make-up and donning shoes with a heel measuring between two and four inches in height.
Thorp objected with an online petition that garnered 150,000 and before she knew it, the politicians had come to heel and decided to bring forth legislation.

“I had the choice of either will I get paid for a day’s work, let go of my principles or stick to it,” said Thorp. “I’m really glad now that I did.”In the opinion of some medical experts, long-term use of high heels can cause damage to the foot.

“High heels can cause several problems,” said Dr. Faiyaz Dedhar, a podiatrist. “Pain in the Achilles tendon, blisters, corns, calluses, we see it all, every day.

So far the bill has not met with any opposition from political parties or interest groups. Even B.C. business associations are backing the legislation, apparently not wanting to be perceived as heels on the issue.

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