(Dirk Meissner/Canadian Press))

With warmer weather settling into the city and the fact that it’s 2019, changes to BC Legislature’s dress code now allow for women to wear sleeveless clothing at work.

The move comes after Shannon Waters took to social media explaining the situation.

“The House of Commons includes sleeveless dresses, blouses as part of its accepted attire,” said Waters on Twitter. “Time for BC to catch up.”

On Wednesday, Waters also added that staff from the Sergeant-at-Arms office told at least three women in two days to “cover up” in the hallways.

After the post went viral on social media, the provincial legislature took the issue to heart and made changes to the nearly 40-year-old dress code policy.

“Let me state at the outset that I expect that any Assembly dress guidelines must not undermine gender identity or the right of all Members or employees to fully and comfortably contribute to this unique workplace,” said Speaker Darryl Plecas in his Parliamentary Dress update.

“…Due to the historical imbalance, I am more than open to accommodating concerns brought forward by many women, as articulated over the past few days.”

A preliminary review of the dress code has been completed and several recommendations have been offered, including:

  • Professional business attire for women should now include a range of contemporary conventional options, including sleeveless dresses, shirts, and blouses. Dress standards for men continue to be collared shirts, ties, and jackets.
  • Assembly dress guidelines are officially not the responsibility of Sergeant-at-Arms or other Assembly staff to enforce.
  • The dress code should be principle-driven and not overly prescriptive moving forward.

These initial recommendations are a reflection of a preliminary review, with a more thorough report expected to be released after consultation with more members of the legislature.

“We recognize and respect the good judgement of all Members, staff, and press gallery members,” said Plecas.

“All Members, staff, and press are encouraged to continue to wear professional business attire. Recognizing that the Legislature is a formal business environment, we are confident good judgement will be shown by all.”

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