Motion seeks stronger protections for Ontario temp agency workers

April 19, 2017
Article Source
The Lawyer's Daily

The Ontario Legislature passed a motion on April 13 that calls for the government to put into place greater protections for temporary agency workers.

The motion brought by NDP deputy leader Jagmeet Singh is an effort to ensure that the Changing Workplaces Review, the government's assessment of the province's existing labour and employment laws, will make changes to those laws to put an end to long-term assignments for temporary employees.

An Interim Report on the review was issued on July 27, 2016. A final report and recommendations is being prepared by Michael Mitchell and John Murray, former judge with the Superior Court of Justice.

"The purpose of this motion is to draw attention to the unfairness going on in the world of temporary job agencies and this is an acknowledgement that changes need to be done," said Singh.

Singh said there are legitimate reasons for an employer to use temporary workers from a temporary job agency. This might be to help the company meet a temporary surge in orders for its goods or services, for example. However, too often these temporary workers remain at the same job for years, never becoming permanent full-time employees with the attendant benefits that comes with being a permanent hire.

"They often don't receive the same pay or receive the same benefits as their co-workers who are working there permanently," added Singh.

Singh said that if a person has been employed cumulatively for six months or more at the same employer, that employer would have to hire that person permanently. He also wants to see an end to the current practice where the temporary agency can charge a client company a fee if the client company decides to hire a temporary worker within the first six months on the job. Fees after six months are illegal in Ontario.

"That seems to me to be outrageous," said Singh.

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