Ontario moves to protect temporary help agency employees

Ontario is taking action to ensure that temporary help agency employees are being treated fairly and have better opportunities to move to sustainable employment.

The government has introduced legislation that will, if passed, amend the Employment Standards Act to deliver more fairness for low-income workers by:

  • Making sure that they are not unfairly prevented from accessing permanent jobs when employers want to hire them from agencies.
  • Prohibiting temporary help agencies from charging fees to workers for things such as resume writing and interview preparation.
  • Guaranteeing that employees have the information they need about their assignments including pay schedules and job descriptions.
  • Ensuring that employees have access to information about their rights under the Employment Standards Act.

There are more than 700,000 people in Ontario working in temporary jobs, many through some 1,000 temporary help agencies currently operating in Ontario.

The government has already passed a regulation that will ensure that “elect-to-work” employees like temp workers will have the same rights to public holiday entitlements as other workers, effective January 2, 2009. The recently introduced legislation would also, if passed, allow the government to enact regulations so that “elect-to-work” employees also have the same rights to notice of termination and severance pay.
Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy is designed to build a stronger economy by creating more opportunity for all low-income families and children. The strategy sets a goal of reducing child poverty by 25 per cent in 5 years – lifting 90,000 children out of poverty.