Province wants to crack down on unlawful temporary help agencies and recruiters

Monte McNaughton announces plan to licence temporary help agencies and recruiters. October 18, 2021 Image courtesy of live video on Twitter.

The Ontario government is proposing new legislation requiring temporary help agencies and recruiters to have a licence to operate in the province.

Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton, serving as Ontario’s Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, said there are over 3,000 temporary help agencies, and thousands of recruiters in Ontario, and while most are upstanding operations, some are not.

“Unfortunately some are lawbreakers who exploit their workers, this needs to change,” said McNaughton. “Over the past two years, my ministry has focused inspections on temporary help agencies. The underground activity they found makes millions of dollars off the backs of workers, by not paying minimum wage, not paying holiday pay, and not paying overtime pay.”

McNaughton said inspectors also found recruiters charging workers illegal hiring fees, then clawing back their pay.

“This ends now,” he said. “It’s time we return these stolen paychecks to the workers who earn them, and level the playing field for all agencies and recruiters.”

McNaughton said his government’s plan, if passed, would require agencies and recruiters to get a licence, pay a security bond, and be listed on a public online database.

“Those who fail to get a licence, or choose to use an unlicensed agency, will face the highest fines in the country, and could face possible jail time.”

If the legislation is passed, the government intends to require licences as early as 2024.