December 16, 2021
The Ontario government will introduce legislation requiring licenses for temporary help agencies (THAs) and recruiters to operate in the province. 

The legislation would enable penalties against an unlicensed THA, recruiter or business using an unlicensed operator. As well, those who use deceitful recruiters could be required to repay workers for illegal fees charged. Ontario is also proposing to hire a dedicated team of officers to crack down on THAs and recruiters who are exploiting and trafficking domestic and foreign workers.

“From day one, my ministry has worked to ensure any employer who abuses the rights of their workers — no matter their passport — will quickly find our officers at their front door,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Ontario. “This legislation would, if passed, be the toughest of its kind in Canada — ensuring every worker in Ontario has unprecedented protection today and, in the years to come.”

Provincial inspections have revealed there are multiple temporary help agencies in Ontario illegally paying people below the minimum wage and denying other basic employment rights. In doing so, they gain an unfair competitive advantage over law-abiding agencies by undercutting rates.

Under the proposed legislation, THAs and recruiters would be vetted before being issued a licence to operate. If the legislation is passed, the government intends to require licences as early as 2024.