Ontario's Bill 18, the "Stronger Workplaces for a
Stronger Economy Act " received royal assent on November
20, 2014. The Act introduces amendments to a number of
employment statutes, including the Employment Standards
Act, 2000, the Labour Relations Act, The
Workplace Safety & Insurance Act and the
Occupational Health & Safety Act. Some changes may
have significant impact on "temporary help agencies" and
their clients. Other changes will be of significance to all Ontario
Employment Standards Act ("ESA")
Recovery of Wages
Effective February 20, 2015:
the current monetary limit of $10,000.00 on an Employment
Standards Officer's power to order payment of wages will
be removed, with no monetary limit on orders for wages that become
due after February 20, 2015; and
the current time limit for recovery of wages of six months (no
recovery of wages that became owing more than six months prior to a
complaint being commenced) will be increased to two years.
On October 1 of every year starting in 2015, the minimum wage
will be adjusted according to the Consumer Price Index for the
preceding two calendar years.
Temporary Help Agencies
Currently under the ESA, an agency that assigns a
person to perform work for a client or potential client of the
agency is deemed to be the "employer" of the person for
the purposes of the Act, and the person (the
"assignment employee") is likewise deemed to be the
"employee" of the agency.
Effective November 20, 2015:
both temporary help agencies and their clients will be required
to keep a record of all of the hours worked by assignment employees
in each day and each week. These records must be kept for a period
of three years and must be "readily available" for
inspection by an Employment Standards Officer;
where the agency fails to pay wages to an assignment employee,
both the temporary help agency and the client will be jointly
liable for the wages owing;
if the assignment employee works for more than one client, the
clients will be jointly liable with the temporary help agency for
their proportionate share of the wages owing; and
for the purpose of enforcing the liability of a client, the
client will be deemed to be an "employer" of the
Workplace Safety & Insurance Act
The Workplace Safety & Insurance Act will now
define a "temporary help agency" as an employer "...
who primarily engages in the business of lending or hiring out the
services of its workers to other employers on a temporary basis for
Where a worker is placed by a temporary help agency with
"another employer" and the worker sustains an injury
while working for the other employer, the amendments to the
Act permit the Governor in Council to make
deeming wages paid by the temporary help agency to have been
paid by the other employer for the purpose of experience and merit
attributing the injury and accident costs arising from the
injury to the other employer; and
increasing or decreasing the other employer's premiums
based on frequency of injuries or accident costs or both.
These amendments are to take effect on a date to be proclaimed
by the Lieutenant Governor.
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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