Alberta toughens rules for employment agencies

Include greater protection for jobseekers as of Sept. 1
||Last Updated: 09/07/2012

As of Sept. 1, new rules in Alberta are strengthening protection for jobseekers, including temporary foreign workers, who use employment agencies.

Currently, the Employment Agency Business Licensing Regulation prohibits agencies from charging workers a fee for finding them jobs. Businesses that assist employers in Alberta to find workers, or assist Canadians or non-Canadians to find employment in Alberta, must be licensed by the provincial government.

The strengthened regulation now makes employment agencies more accountable and aids in complaint investigations, said the Alberta government. Employment agencies will be required to:

•clarify and expand their recordkeeping

•operate in their licensed name

•register their agents

•enter into written agreements with employers and jobseekers.

The majority of employment agencies that recruit internationally will be required to provide a $25,000 security before Sept. 30.

“As Alberta’s economy continues to grow, so will the demand for workers and this government is making sure there is greater protection for potential employees who choose to use employment agencies,” said Service Alberta Minister Manmeet Bhullar.

It is also illegal for businesses to:

mislead temporary foreign workers about their rights or their chance of becoming a Canadian citizen

•pressure workers to lie to Canadian officials

•intimidate or threaten individuals seeking work

•mislead job seekers or misrepresent employment opportunities

•require workers to provide a performance bond.

“These new rules will help improve protection for all jobseekers,” said Randy Upright, vice-president of the Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services. “Reputable employment agencies welcome these changes and see them as a positive step to improving standards in the industry.”

A tipsheet explaining how the new rules work can be found at Service Alberta.

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