The Ontario Government has passed an Act amending the current Employment Standards Act, 2000 by adding temporary employees or “assignment employees” to the Act’s jurisdiction, thereby ensuring that these employees receive such benefits as termination and severance pay.
The Ontario Government has passed amendments to the current Employment Standards Act, 2000 entitled An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 2000 in relation to temporary help agencies and certain other matters (“Act”). The amendments in the Act provide a number of new provisions affecting the treatment of temporary help agency employees.
These new provisions include: prohibiting a temporary help agency from either restricting a client from hiring an agency’s assignment employee, or restricting an assignment employee from accepting an offer of permanent employment with one of the agency’s clients; prohibiting temporary help agencies from charging a client a “temporary to permanent” fee for continued employment of an assigned employee past six months; prohibiting a temporary help agency from charging an assignment employee for accepting permanent employment with one of the agency’s clients; and prohibiting temporary help agencies from restricting a client from providing an assignment employee with references.
In addition to these new provisions, the Ontario Government intends to enact further regulations that will prevent assignment employees from being classified as “elect to work” employees. Under this classification, employees were exempt from certain Employment Standards Act, 2000 requirements, such as notice of termination and severance pay, and public holidays. By removing assignment employees from the classification of elect to work employees, the Ontario Government will help to ensure that assignment employees receive these benefits.
The new Act appears to be a positive step taken by the Ontario Government to ensure that assignment employees are provided with the same treatment and financial compensation as other employees who are under the jurisdiction of the Employment Standards Act, 2000. It will be interesting to see how these new amendments will be implemented in both the workplace and the courtroom once the Act comes into effect six months after Royal Assent.