Temporary help agency and recruiter licensing framework in Ontario: Public consultations underway

December 2, 2022 | Zeinab Yousif

On November 21, 2022,  the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development (the “Ministry”) began a public consultation process to develop regulations for the new temporary help agency and recruiter licensing framework. This new licensing framework was introduced as part of amendments to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”) made by Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021. Briefly, the amendments provide for, among other things:

  • a requirement that temporary  help agencies and recruiters hold a license in order to operate in Ontario;
  • a requirement that clients, employers and prospective employers not knowingly engage a temporary help agency or recruiter that does not hold a license;
  • information required on an application for license or renewal of a license; and
  • the making of regulations respecting the licensing framework.

These amendments will be proclaimed into force on a future date.

The Ministry is in the process of developing the regulations and is seeking stakeholder input into a number of proposals, including:

  • A proposed definition of “recruiter” as any person who, for a fee, finds or attempts to find, employment in Ontario for prospective employees. It would also include any person who, for a fee, finds or attempts to find, employees for prospective employers in Ontario.
  • A proposed application fee of $750 for a license or renewal of a license.
  • The requirement to provide a $25,000 security in the form of an irrevocable letter of credit when applying for a license, as well as circumstances in which the security may be used or “drawn down” to satisfy obligations owing under orders issued under the ESA or the Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals Act, 2009.
  • Rules specifying time periods to show evidence of compliance in certain circumstances where the Director of Employment Standards has given notice of the intention to deny, revoke, or suspend a license.
  • Information required on an application for a license or renewal of a license.
  • Administrative monetary penalties for noncompliance, including penalties for temporary help agencies or recruiters operating without a license, clients who use an unlicensed temporary help agency and employers who use an unlicensed recruiter.
  • Circumstances that could lead to denial, revocation or suspension of a license.

While most of the proposals relate directly to recruiters and temporary help agencies, there are several that will be of interest to clients of temporary help agencies and employers who use recruiters. Specifically:

  • With respect to the definition of recruiter, whether it should exempt individuals performing recruitment functions as part of their role in an organization; and
  • The proposed penalties for clients and employers who may use an unlicensed agency or recruiter.

Stakeholders must provide their comments to the Ministry by December 6, 2022. For more information about the licensing framework and consultation process, please review the Ministry’s consultation paper titled Improving Compliance with the Employment Standards Act, 2000, in the Temporary Help Sector or contact a member of Miller Thomson’s Labour & Employment team.


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