Footwear for female servers was the focus of a private member’s bill submitted to the BC Legislature by BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver.

It would amend the Workers Compensation Act to ensure employers do not force women to wear high heels at work.

Ian Tostenson is the President of BC’s Restaurant and Food Services Association.

He says it’s only common sense for workers to be comfortable on the job.

“The employee has the right to tell the employer that they don’t feel comfortable or safe with that (high heels), it’s an uncomfortable situation so we’re encouraging all the employers to just straighten out that policy and make that choice herself.”

Tostenson adds some major restaurant chains are ahead of the curve on this issue. “Earls in a great example they got on this about a year ago and they said our female servers can either wear pants and they can wear flats for shoes. We’ve come a long way on this issue in a short amount of time.”

Earls Prince George Manager Dan Connelly says they agree with the BC Restaurants and Food Services Association on the issue.

“We also have to balance the safety aspect as well, we do a lot of walking and a lot of high-paced, high-energy in a lot of areas where you could potentially slip and fall.”

Connelly adds they take feedback from their industry very seriously. “The business partners that we work with are our greatest resource. We want to make sure that our environment is one people look forward to coming to work, enjoy what they do and take pride in it so that we can present the environment in all aspects that gives them the best chance to be successful.”

Despite broad support, the bill was not addressed in the legislature.