Articles and Resources

Ontario Bill 27

Working with Staffworks under new ESA Regulations

Ontario Legislature
By: Sandra Sears
May 29, 2024

Sandra is the owner and founder of Staffworks. Follow along and read more insights on LinkedIn.

A bit of history

When I founded Staffworks in September 2000, a provincial license was required to operate a temporary staffing agency in Ontario.  The fee was negligible and not every agency held one.  Perhaps that was because there was no enforcement of and no known penalty for non-compliance.  Documentation on exact timing is scarce, and it was meaningless in any case, but the licensing requirement was dropped not long after Staffworks began operations.  I suppose it was most likely during Mike Harris’ Common Sense Revolution, which continued until 2002.

Working for Workers Act (2021,22,23 and Four) Bill 27

Over the past several years the Provincial Government under Doug Ford has implemented several changes to the Ontario Standards Act (2000).  In addition to amendments such as the Right to Disconnect, Removing Canadian work experience for professional registration and licensing, the Act now mandates (again), that agencies hold a license, which carries an annual fee and a security bond.  It also prohibits companies from knowingly using an unlicensed agency.   

The Good News: Dealing with Staffworks will remain the same. 

Staffworks will always ensure its license is current and in good standing.  Employers can click here any time to check the status of an agency’s license.  Its important to note that during the transitional period while an agency awaits a decision after the license application has been submitted, an “under review” status is considered valid until the ministry issues a decision on the license.

How to get compliant?

For staffing agencies, acquiring a license involves several steps to ensure adherence to the law’s provisions.  This involves submitting detailed applications, undergoing thorough background checks, and fulfilling specific criteria outlined by the regulatory authority, including providing financial surety.

What about the users, companies like yours?

For organizations engaging the services of temporary help agencies, compliance with Bill 27 necessitates due diligence in selecting reputable and licensed providers. Prior to entering into contractual agreements, (even for a single  temporary employee) businesses must verify the validity of an agency’s license.  This is done through the Ministry’s online registry. While you’re at it, I would recommend also checking if the firm is a member in good standing of ACSESS, our National Association dedicated to upholding ethical business practices in the Staffing Industry. 

A Business-owners thoughts

As a staffing agency owner, I fully support the regulations as they will help distinguish the ethical players in the industry from those who do not  adhere to the rules of the ESA and CRA.  However, if the rules are not enforced then it will serve only to further slant the playing field against the staffing providers who are trying to do right by their clients and candidates.  I look forward to seeing how the Ontario Government puts into action their commitment to holding staffing firms accountable to the law.

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