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Blitz Results: Temporary Help Agencies

  • Issued: June 12, 2015
  • Content last reviewed: June 2015

The provincial temporary help agencies blitz ran from January 1 to February 28, 2015, and was the sixth employment standards blitz conducted by the Ministry of Labour since 2012.

The purpose of the blitz was to ensure compliance with the Employment Standards Act (ESA). The nature of work in Ontario has changed in recent years and the use of temporary employees by businesses has increased. As a result, it is vital that the Ministry of Labour assist temporary help agencies in understanding how to follow the law. This will help protect vulnerable workers and ensure those who are complying with the law can better compete.

The proactive inspections of the temporary help sector are part of the ministry’s strategy which focuses on sectors that:

  • Employ vulnerable workers
  • Have a prior history of employment standards contraventions
  • Have a high number of ESA complaints
  • Represent a significant part of the workforce in Ontario

This is the second formal temporary help agency blitz conducted by the ministry. Officers checked for compliance with core ESA standards, with a particular focus on:

  • temporary help agencies charging employees fees
  • temporary help agencies providing the required information
  • public holidays
  • record keeping
  • hours of work (excess daily or weekly)

During the blitz, officers delivered educational packages to every workplace inspected. The packages included:

  • Employment Standards in Ontario – the “Employment Standards Poster”.
  • What Businesses Need to Know – a document that provides information on core ESA standards, key resources, employment standards enforcement in Ontario and why compliance makes good business sense.
  • Employment Standards Tools & Calculators – a tip sheet featuring links to online tools, calculators and other key resources.
  • It’s Your Job: New and Young Workers In Your Workplace – a tip sheet for employers of young workers featuring employment standards and occupational health and safety information.
  • Temporary Help Agencies Blitz information sheet – a handout created specifically for the temporary help agencies blitz that featured links to a number of key resources for temporary help agencies on the MOL website.

Results

Temporary help agencies

50 inspections were completed:

  • 14 employers were compliant and no violations were found.
  • 121 compliance “tools” (e.g., Compliance Order, Notice of Contravention or Part 1 Ticket) were issued.
  • 100 per cent of the monies owing to employees assessed during the blitz were paid voluntarily by the employer.
  • Over $38,600 was recovered for 2,989 employees.
  • The most common monetary violations were for:
    • public holiday pay
    • vacation pay
    • overtime pay
  • The most common non-monetary violations were for:
    • record keeping
    • hours of work – excess daily/weekly
    • vacation pay – written agreements

Compliance enforcement summary

An employment standards officer can issue a non-monetary Compliance Order if the officer finds that the employer has contravened the ESA. The officer can order an employer or other person to stop contravening a provision and to take certain steps to comply.

  • 117 Compliance Orders were issued during the temporary help agencies blitz.

An employment standards officer may also issue an Offence Notice (“ticket”) under Part I of the Provincial Offences Act, carrying a fine of $295 plus a victim fine surcharge.

  • 1 Part 1 Ticket was issued during the temporary help agencies blitz.

Employment standards officers have the power to issue Notices of Contravention with prescribed penalties starting at $250 when they believe an employer has contravened a provision of the ESA.

  • 3 Notices of Contravention were issued during the temporary help agencies blitz.