Because of the unique attributes of staffing and recruitment in Canada, a major focus of the association’s advocacy is to proactively ensure that labour and employment laws do not impede staffing agency operations or unnecessarily increase costs, which could reduce labor market flexibility. In its most recent 2022/23 economic report, Staffing Industry Analysts recognizes Canada as the market with the least regulations and legislative restrictions in the world.
Since our last report to members, ACSESS continued to make our industry's views known across a wide range of policy issues. We have represented members on several public policy fronts, including rate reform consultations, employment standards and federal procurement. Since our last report, our focus has been on Licensing framework regulations consultations and relationship building with key government officials on a national scale.
Service Alberta is in the process of developing a compliance standards document to assist staffing and recruitment firms and ensure compliance under the Consumer Protection Act and the Employment Agency Business Licensing Regulation. As a key partner, ACSESS will be working closely with Service Alberta in reviewing key materials, The standards and interpretations will address the most frequently asked questions and the most significant issues from an enforcement and compliance perspective.
ACSESS continues to assume a leadership role in ensuring that industry members are aware of legislative and regulatory changes on a national scale which if implemented may affect their businesses. Our national committee and sub committees continue to actively monitor legislative developments in all provinces on a wide range of industry specific policy issues.
The Portable Benefits Advisory Panel was established in Ontario to report on the viability, design and implementation of a program that could provide portable benefits to millions of workers who change jobs often and may not have access to employer-provided benefits. The Panel will issue a report with their recommendations next year. The Panel identified ACSESS as an important stakeholder during this process and the have requested our perspective and input as they develop their recommendations in early 2023.
Over the course of the next few months, ACSESS will be working closely with Ministry staff on the drafting of the regulations for industry licensing in Ontario. The regulations will include new penalties on firms that violate basic safety and employment standards, posting of a surety bond and new vetting requirements prior to the issuance of a license. As part of its mandate, ACSESS has long supported and advocated for initiatives to ensure that all temporary help agencies (THAs) comply with their legal obligations. This creates a level playing field for ACSESS member agencies and results in a fairer industry for THAs, their clients and assignment employees alike.
Consistent with this longstanding position, ACSESS supports the creation of a licensing regime for THAs, provided that the government is committed to investing the resources needed to ensure that any such regime is meaningful and effective in achieving its goals, which must include holding accountable unethical and illegal THAs that tarnish the reputation of the entire industry.
ACSESS continues to sponsor the Excellence program for the Staffing Services industry in partnership with WSIB. We are also exploring similar prevention initiatives in other provinces.
Workplace health and safety is a top priority for ACSESS members on a national scale. ACSESS maintains alliances with workers compensation boards in all provinces to help raise staffing firm and client awareness of their respective responsibilities for temporary and contract workers. At the same time, ACSESS works to educate provincial boards in the areas of rate reform and the benefits of industry prevention initiatives.
In Quebec, the government adopted new requirements for the Attestation (Revenu Quebec) and the license issued by the Ministry of Labour (CNESST). Staffing firms in the province will now require appropriate clearance from Revenu Québec not only to obtain or renew a CNESST license but also to maintain the license. In order to alleviate the administrative burden on industry, staffing firms will no longer be required to provide a copy of the attestation to clients. While clients will still be required to ensure that the staffing firm has a license, they will not be required to verify attestation requirements.
The Quebec government has announced plans to phase out the use of staffing firms to staff the public health-care system by 2026. In early April 2023, Bill 10 was adopted unanimously in the national assembly. The bill is built on the principle that using staffing firms should be the exception rather than the rule. The Health Ministry will be able to fix a maximum hourly rate that Quebec would pay employees, referred to by the province as independent workers. Quebec will also be able to decide which health institutions can and cannot contract with staffing firms. The exact timing will be noted in regulations tabled later this month (May, 2023). Once regulations are released, ACSESS will be releasing detailed submissions.
For more information please contact Mary McIninch, Director of Government Relations at 905-826-6869 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The above Report is also available for downloading and printing in PDF format.