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Alberta takes steps to ban compulsory high heels in the workplace

EDMONTON – Alberta has taken steps to prohibit employers from demanding that people wear high heels at work.

Labor Minister Christina Gray says the province is changing the Occupational Health Insurance Act, which currently allows employers to make high heels.

"Our government has every worker's back and today we are also looking for our feet," Gray said Friday.

Ontario and British Columbia banned high heels in 2017 and Manitoba the same this year. Alberta's changes will come into force on January 1.

Gray said she had heard from servers that say high heels cause them pain and put them at risk of falling.

Lisa Caputo, co-owner of the Cibo Bistro building in Edmonton, said her previous experience in the restaurant industry included two heels.

"The work of almost half of my career at the workplace, which demanded dangerous and uncomfortable footwear, left my feet in the form of diamonds from the boots I wore for eight to ten hours," she said.

She did not have to wear her heels for eight years, but she still feels pain in her legs, she said.

"You're working in an environment where you look and dress the trumps and food, you're losing your position as a woman," Caputo said. "You are quite an object and we felt it."

Gray said that no one should be forced to wear any footwear that could cause health or safety problems. She said the change would prohibit all employers in every sector from requiring workers to use shoes that could pose a risk.

"Women still have the ability to wear high heels, but they can not be forced, especially in dangerous working environments," she said.

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