The Ontario legislature has passed the Employment Standards
Amendment Act (Temporary Help Agencies), 2009, which
amends the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the
Act) to include specific obligations for temporary help
agencies with respect to their employees. The following highlights
some of the key provisions in the amendments.
The amendments define "Assignment Employees" as
individuals employed by a temporary help agency for the purpose of
being assigned to perform work on a temporary basis for clients of
the agency. The amendments clarify that the temporary help agency
is in fact the employer of the Assignment Employees and that
Assignment Employees do not cease to be employees of the agency
because they have been assigned by the agency to perform work for a
client on a temporary basis, or because they are not assigned to
perform work for a client.
Among the obligations imposed on temporary help agencies is the
requirement to provide certain information to its Assignment
Employees. Assignment Employees must be provided with contact
information for the agency, information about work assignments,
including the client's contact information, hours of work and
hourly wages associated with the assignment and a general
description of the work to be performed. In addition, the temporary
help agency must provide Assignment Employees with copies of the
Ministry of Labour publications regarding rights of Assignment
Employees under the Act. The amendments also stipulate how
the notice of termination and severance pay obligations under the
Act apply to Assignment Employees, including how to
determine wages owed during the notice period.
Temporary help agencies are prohibited from charging fees to its
Assignment Employees and, subject to limited exceptions, from
restricting Assignment Employees from entering into employment
relationships with clients of the agency. Clients of temporary help
agencies are prohibited from taking reprisals against Assignment
Employees on a variety of grounds, including if the Assignment
Employee makes inquires about, or seeks to enforce, his or her
rights under the Act.
The amendments received Royal Assent on May 6, 2009 and will
come into force on or about November 6, 2009.
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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