“Unfortunately, some are lawbreakers who exploit their workers,” said Monte McNaughton.
Ontario is poised to introduce legislation that would require temp agencies and recruiters to be licensed.
Labor Minister Monte McNaughton said there are more than 3,000 agencies in the province and that the vast majority operate ethically, but not all.
“Unfortunately, some are lawbreakers who exploit their workers,” he said. “This needs to change.”
Labor Ministry inspections have found several temporary help agencies paying workers below minimum wage and denying basic labor rights, McNaughton said.
“The clandestine activity they found generates millions of dollars on the backs of workers by not paying the minimum wage, not paying vacations and not paying overtime,” he said.
“They also found recruiters charging workers illegal hiring fees and then recovering their wages. This ends now. It’s time to return these stolen paychecks to the workers who earn them and level the playing field for all agencies and recruiters. “
Labor inspections at farms, nursing homes, food processing and storage facilities have found more than $ 3.3 million due to employees, and about half of that has been recovered, the government said.
Under the proposed legislation, agencies and recruiters would have to provide an irrevocable letter of credit that could be used to reimburse wages owed to workers, if necessary, and would be screened before obtaining a license.
The government wants the licensing system to be in place by 2024. Meanwhile, Ontario is proposing to hire a team of officers to tackle the illegal practices.