Ontario better protecting both temporary and foreign workers

Changes impact employers, recruiters

Changes to Ontario's employment laws now better protect precarious and foreign workers.

The Employment Standards Act, 2000 will be amended to allow individuals who are hired through a temporary help agency to recover unpaid wages from both the agency and the agency's client-business, where the agency has not paid the wages.

Originally businesses using temporary help agencies in Ontario — largest agency sector in Canada — did not have liability for unpaid regular wages, overtime, public holidays, and premium pay.

To help strengthen protections for foreign workers, coverage under the Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals Act, 2009 is being extended to foreign nationals who are employed or seeking employment in Ontario through an immigration or foreign temporary employee program. The act used to apply only to foreign live-in caregivers, their employers, and recruiters. Chan

The new changes stipulate recruiters cannot directly or indirectly charge fees for goods, benefits or services such as recruitment and placement costs. Recruiters and employers are also not allowed to take or keep property such as passports or work permits belonging to foreign nationals.

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