Employers in Alberta are no longer allowed to mandate high heels in the workplace.
Changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Code were announced Friday morning, prohibiting Alberta employers from requiring workers to wear high heels.
Those who work in the hospitality industry have been particularly vocal about banning heeled footwear in Alberta restaurants. Earlier this week, Edmonton restaurant owner Lisa Caputo appeared on Global News at Noon calling for just that.
Caputo, who owns Cibo Bistro in downtown Edmonton, said the change will protect women’s safety and help change the way women are viewed in the workplace.
“I worked under a mandatory high heel policy and now surgery is the only option to correct the damage done to my feet,” Caputo said Friday.
“Working in an environment that prioritizes safety and comfort over looks creates a welcoming workplace.”
The change also has to do with safety, the government said. Prolonged high heel use has been associated with workplace trips, slips and falls, on top of painful foot conditions and skeletal and muscular injuries, according to the province.
“I have heard from many Alberta women in the hospitality industry that this change needs to happen,” Labour Minister Christina Gray said.
“It’s clear that forcing women to wear high heels at work is a bad idea. This is an important change that will help create healthy work environments where workers can do their jobs safely and not be forced to use footwear that creates potential hazards.”
The government conducted an online survey in 2017, which found 78 per cent of employers and 88 per cent of employees were in support of changes that prevent clothing and footwear policies from creating a hazard to workers.
Other mandatory footwear requirements will remain in place in Alberta, such as steel-toed footwear on construction sites.
Alberta’s high-heel ban comes after Ontario and B.C. passed similar laws in 2017. Manitoba followed suit earlier this year.
The change will come into effect in Alberta on Jan. 1, 2019.
Originally posted on globalnews.ca by Caley Ramsay on November 30, 2018.