Temporary Help Agencies and Assignment Workers
Currently, in Ontario, there are more than 700,000 people working in temporary jobs and 1,000 temporary help agencies in operation.
The Employment Standards Amendment Act (Temporary Help Agencies) was passed on May 4th, 2009 to address the increasing prevalence of temporary help agencies and the unique employment issues they raise. Among the features of the Act are the following:
- The Act prohibits temporary help agencies from restricting a client from providing a permanent position to the agency’s assignment employee or charging the client a “temporary to permanent” fee, after six months or more have passed since the assignment employee was first assigned to the client;
- Temporary help agencies are prohibited from restricting a client from providing references to an assignment employee;
- Temporary help agencies are prohibited from charging a fee to a person for becoming an assignment employee, for receiving assistance in finding or attempting to find work or for receiving assistance in preparing a resume or preparing for job interviews;
- As soon as possible after the temporary help agency enters into an employment relationship with the employee, the temporary help agency is required to provide, in writing, to their assignment employees, the agency’s name and contact information;
- Temporary help agencies are required to provide to their assignment employees an information sheet prepared by the Director of Employment Standards which describes the assignment employee’s rights under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“the ESA”).
- Temporary help agencies are also required to provide information on wages, benefits, hours of work and the pay schedule associated with the work assignment, as well as a general description of the work to be performed by the assignment employee;
- In addition to temporary help agencies, the clients of such agencies are now also specifically prohibited from engaging in reprisals against assignment employees for asserting their rights under the ESA; and
- The Act clarifies an aspect of assignment employees’ entitlement to public holiday pay under the ESA, as well as how termination and severance rights apply to assignment employees.
These Amendments to the ESA come into effect on November 6, 2009.
For more information, see: