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Along with franchisors and unionized employers, the recommendations made in the Changing Workplaces Review Final Report could signal change for temporary help agencies, the individuals they employ (“assignment workers”), and the businesses who use these services to staff their operations (“client employers”).

With the view that assignment employees are among “the most vulnerable and precarious in the workplace,” the review focused its policy objectives and recommendations for temporary help agencies on three main areas:

  1. Equality and permanent jobs;
  2. Termination pay; and,
  3. Workplace safety for assignment employees.

Here are some of their recommendations:

  • After working for the same client employer for 6 months, assignment workers should be paid at least as much as full-time employees performing comparable work for that employer.
  • Only a 3-month break between periods of employment with the same client employer would restart the 6-month period during which the assignment worker could be paid a lesser than equal rate.
  • Client employers should make best efforts to ensure assignment workers are aware of all available job openings with them and should consider any assignment worker’s application for such positions in good faith.
  • Before terminating an assignment worker, client employers should consider if the assignment worker is suitable for an available position with them.
  • Notice of termination and termination pay for assignment workers should no longer follow the temporary layoff provisions of Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”). Instead:
    • The agency should provide the assignment worker with notice of termination or pay in lieu of notice as required under the ESA; and,
    • Pay in lieu of notice should be paid within 13 weeks from the end of the assignment unless the agency assigns the worker to another client within that period.
  • With respect to the allocation of risk and liability, including for workplace injuries, the client employer should bear responsibility, not the agency.
  • For the purpose of the Labour Relations Act, 1995, assignment workers should be deemed to be employees of the client employer, not the agency.

Temporary help agencies is one of a handful of substantive topics the Report reviewed. If you’re interested in what the Report recommended in other areas, I would recommend a read of my colleague’s blog posts on those topics:

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