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Temp agencies may seem like a good idea but beware the risks
If you're new to the Canadian labour market, sooner or later someone's going to tell you that you need Canadian experience. The quest for Canadian experience has many newcomers turning to employment agencies -- agencies that are retained by client companies to supply them with workers on an as-needed, temporary basis.
Employment agencies are a common entry point into the labour market for many recent immigrants. They hold out the promise of flexibility and exposure to possible permanent job opportunities.
Too good to be true?
But that promise is at odds with the harsh realities faced by a significant number of these "temp" workers. According to Statistics Canada, a worker who is hired out by an employment agency on a temporary basis can expect to earn about 40 per cent less than a permanent, non-agency counterpart.
Although many such agency workers are highly educated, a substantial portion of them work in unskilled or low-skilled occupations and in industries with lower-paying jobs. These realities can be even harsher for recent immigrants, who are at a higher risk of harassment and discrimination in the workplace.