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Temporary Help Agency And Recruiter Licensing Framework In Ontario: Public Consultations Underway – Employee Rights/ Labour Relations

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On November 21, 2022, the Ministry of Labour, Immigration,
Training and Skills Development (the “Ministry”) began a
public consultation process to develop regulations for the new
temporary help agency and recruiter licensing framework. This new
licensing framework was introduced as part of amendments to the
Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”) made
by Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021. Briefly, the
amendments provide for, among other things:

  • a requirement that temporary help agencies and recruiters hold
    a license in order to operate in Ontario;

  • a requirement that clients, employers and prospective employers
    not knowingly engage a temporary help agency or recruiter that does
    not hold a license;

  • information required on an application for license or renewal
    of a license; and

  • the making of regulations respecting the licensing
    framework.

These amendments will be proclaimed into force on a future
date.

The Ministry is in the process of developing the regulations and
is seeking stakeholder input into a number of proposals,
including:

  • A proposed definition of “recruiter” as any person
    who, for a fee, finds or attempts to find, employment in Ontario
    for prospective employees. It would also include any person who,
    for a fee, finds or attempts to find, employees for prospective
    employers in Ontario.

  • A proposed application fee of $750 for a license or renewal of
    a license.

  • The requirement to provide a $25,000 security in the form of an
    irrevocable letter of credit when applying for a license, as well
    as circumstances in which the security may be used or “drawn
    down” to satisfy obligations owing under orders issued under
    the ESA or the Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals Act,
    2009
    .

  • Rules specifying time periods to show evidence of compliance in
    certain circumstances where the Director of Employment Standards
    has given notice of the intention to deny, revoke, or suspend a
    license.

  • Information required on an application for a license or renewal
    of a license.

  • Administrative monetary penalties for noncompliance, including
    penalties for temporary help agencies or recruiters operating
    without a license, clients who use an unlicensed temporary help
    agency and employers who use an unlicensed recruiter.

  • Circumstances that could lead to denial, revocation or
    suspension of a license.

While most of the proposals relate directly to recruiters and
temporary help agencies, there are several that will be of interest
to clients of temporary help agencies and employers who use
recruiters. Specifically:

  • With respect to the definition of recruiter, whether it should
    exempt individuals performing recruitment functions as part of
    their role in an organization; and

  • The proposed penalties for clients and employers who may use an
    unlicensed agency or recruiter.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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