Temp agency not employer: arbitrator

OPSEU victory a cautionary tale on ‘true employer’ issue
By Uyen Vu
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 08/15/2007

Employers seldom consider workers hired through a temporary agency as their employees, but they’re not always right.

In a recent ruling, which should serve as a reminder of the complexities around the “true employer” issue, an arbitrator said a group of 64 temp agency workers were employees of the organization contracting the work, not the temp agency.

The ruling involved the Ontario Property Assessment Corporation (OPAC), now known as the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation. In 2001, after a restructuring created a need for more workers, the corporation turned to Pro Temps, a temporary staffing agency, to quickly engage short-term help. The Pro Temps workers, who would perform the same data entry work as that done by bargaining unit members, were paid $11 per hour, about two-thirds the $17.05-per-hour rate Pro Temps charged OPAC.