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Servicing Clients in the US? 5 Labour Law Differences You Should Know

Posted by Chelsea Henry


Feb 6, 2019 9:00:00 AM

Servicing_Clients_in_the_US_5_Labour_Law_Differences_You_Should_KnowIf you’re running a staffing agency, you may think a great way to expand is to cross the border into the United States. Maybe some of your clients have American branches, or maybe you’re in an area close to the border and know many local businesses that could benefit from your services. You may even be thinking of expanding on a larger scale.

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While international expansion is a great goal for any business, it comes with its own challenges. One of the most common for businesses moving across the Canada-US border is an understanding of labour law.

Labour law in Canada and the US can be quite different. If you’re planning to provide service for clients in the US, you should be aware of these five differences.

1. Understand What a 1099 Employee Is

Employee misclassification is an important legal issue in both Canada and the US. The IRS and many US states tend to shine more of a spotlight on the issue than Canadian governments do.

Part of the problem is the confusion between an employee and a “1099 employee.” A 1099 employee, so named after the tax form you’ll provide them, is actually a contractor. Using a contractor can reduce your obligations to the worker.

Some employers take advantage of these reduced obligations and purposefully misclassify employees as contractors. You might also be at risk of misclassification if you don’t understand the differences between the two terms in the US.

2. At-Will Employment

In Canada, there’s no such thing as at-will employment. You must have solid grounds for terminating someone’s employment with your firm. Termination must be carried out in a specific way, which includes proper notification and the payment of severance.

In the US, at-will employment allows employers and employees to terminate their relationship at any time. Employers don’t need to provide lengthy notice or hefty severance packages. You also may not need as much reason to dismiss someone.

3. Rules around Non-Compete Clauses Vary by State

In Canada, non-compete clauses are somewhat difficult to enforce. Nonetheless, many employers still make use of them. They’re governed by common law.

This is somewhat different from the United States, where non-compete clauses are easier to enforce. The rules change, however, from state to state. Some states will permit the modification of a non-compete clause, rather than striking it out entirely, if it’s deemed too restrictive.

4. Obligations to Employees with Disabilities

You might be familiar with Canada’s rules around accommodating employees with disabilities. Generally speaking, the employer is expected to accommodate an employee with disabilities, such as providing specialized equipment to use or modifying the duties of the role.

It’s difficult to tell where the employer’s duty to accommodate ends. Canadian courts usually draw the line at significant financial burden to the company, but you may be required to prove that.

In the US, you’ll see your financial threshold is much lower. Companies do not need to undertake “significant” financial burden before they’ll be judged to have fulfilled the duty to accommodate.

5. Creating a Severance Policy or Package

In the United States, you might be expected to create a severance policy or package for your employees. This can be quite different from Canada because severance is usually laid out within provincial law. Even having a policy or package may not override your obligation to provide notice of termination.

In the US, where at-will employment exists, employers don’t necessarily need to provide severance or notice. A severance policy usually favours more senior employees, but you may need to know your way around such policies to provide proper support to your clients.

These are just some of the differences between Canadian and American labour law. There are many more. If you’re expanding into the US, it might be helpful to work with a back office solutions provider who can give you the guidance and the support you need to deliver services to your US clients.


Topics: Compliance and Legislation

A Quick Overview of Workplace Protections in Quebec

Posted by Ray Gonder


Jan 30, 2019 9:00:00 AM

A_Quick_Overview_of_Workplace_Protections_in_QuebecQuebec is perhaps the most unique province in Canada, particularly when it comes to its legal framework. While most of Canada’s legal system is based on British common law, Quebec has always followed the French tradition of civil law.

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Such cultural differences are also reflected in Quebec’s different developmental history. The French language and traditions continue to be important today. Until the mid-1960s, the Church wielded a lot of power. Since then, Quebecois people have turned more and more to the state to protect their rights and liberties.

For this reason, Quebec tends to be even more involved with workplace protections. For staffing agencies hoping to operate in the province, Quebec may be both familiar and new at the same time.

This quick guide will help you understand some of the workplace protections in La Belle Province.

The Legal Framework

Most workplace protections are laid out in The Act respecting labour standards, which was passed in the Quebec National Assembly. In recent years, the provincial government has proposed amendments to the Act, so it’s always a good idea to ensure you’re up to date with the latest requirements.

The Act outlines rules on minimum wage, the length of the workweek, and how many breaks a worker is entitled to take.

It also offers provisions about time off, including vacation time, public holidays, sick days, and other absences.

Other parts of the Act describe how employers must deliver notice of terminations or layoffs. The Act also contains a description of the rights of workers who have been terminated.

This law creates minimum standards that all employers must meet or exceed.

Enforcing the Minimum Standards

A law without enforcement is not usually very effective. That’s why the Commission des normes, de l’equite, de la sante et de la securite du travail, or CNESST, exists. This body is in charge of applying the provisions of the Act.

As the name implies, CNESST oversees labour standards, pay equity, and workplace health and safety.

Employees can submit complaints about employers to CNESST. In some cases, CNESST will issue compensation. It may also act as a mediator between employers and employees.

If CNESST has to pay an employee, it reserves the right to sue the employer to recover the funds.

Who the Act Applies To

The Act respecting labour standards covers most workers in Quebec. There are a few notable exceptions.

It does not apply to federal employees. These workers are governed by federal labour standards instead. In all of Canada, only a small percent of the workforce is federal, with the remaining workers falling under provincial jurisdiction.

The self-employed are also exempt from the provisions of the Act.

Senior management and construction workers are also exempt from some of the Act’s rules. They do have access to protection for leaves, but their workweeks don’t need to conform to the Act.

Other exemptions include students who are working in student placement programs, co-ops, or internships, athletes required to attend school, and people providing homecare for others.

There are also differences among employees in different categories. For example, employees working in a sawmill have a longer standard workweek. This means they don’t need to be paid overtime until they’ve worked more hours than in other industries.

What about Staffing Agencies?

The Act respecting labour standards applies to employees wherever they do their work. It will also apply to you if you have any business operations in Quebec.

Staffing agency owners need to register with CNESST. This measure is designed to weed out “bad apple” staffing agencies. It gives CNESST the power to audit agencies that don’t comply and to penalize employers who work with those agencies.

If you plan to operate in Quebec, make a point of familiarizing yourself with the Act respecting labour standards. It will help you understand your responsibilities as a recruiter in Quebec.


Topics: Compliance and Legislation

Ontario to Repeal Parts of the Previous Government’s Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act

Posted by Ray Gonder


Dec 10, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Ontario_Repeal_Parts_of_the_Previous_Governments_Fair_Workplaces_Better_Jobs_ActIn late 2017, the Government of Ontario introduced its Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act. The legislation had been proposed much earlier in the year, but it was finally passed into law after much debate. Even after the Act was passed and changes were starting to roll out, there was still controversy.

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The new Ontario government, elected in June, took a much closer look at the Act. In October, with input from concerned advocates, experts, and businesses, the government introduced Bill 47, which proposed to roll back many of the changes included in the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act.

Only parts of the Act are being repealed, with some of the new provisions staying in place. This quick guide will show you what’s changing and what’s staying the same.

What Was in the Fair Workplaces Act?

To understand what’s changing with the introduction of Bill 47, it helps to know some of the new regulations included in the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, better known as Bill 148.

Bill 148 introduced sweeping changes to employment legislation in Ontario. It was based on the report of a committee. In drafting the legislation, however, the government failed to consult with a wide range of stakeholders.

The most talked-about change was the increase to the minimum wage. The Act mandated a hike from $11.60 per hour in October 2017 to $14 per hour in January 2018. It also proposed an additional increase in January 2019 to $15 per hour.

Bill 148 also included new workers’ rights regarding scheduling. Employees could refuse to be oncall if they weren’t notified 96 hours ahead of time. Personal leaves were also expanded to a total of 10 days, with two of them paid.

Stirring Controversy

From the very beginning, Bill 148 stirred controversy in Ontario’s business community. Many felt it created undue burdens for business owners. Some worried minimum wage hikes would push inflation.

The government forged ahead and signed the bill into law, which came into effect in early 2018. One of the earliest signs of trouble was the public holiday pay formula.

The Act introduced a new formula for calculating public holiday pay, but employers quickly found fault with it. In some circumstances, it allowed workers to be paid for the same holiday more than once.

The government suspended the new formula and vowed to review new options. In the meantime, they reinstated the old formula.

Bill 47 Proposes to Undo Much of the Act

When the new government was elected in June, those who had been lobbying the previous government found this new government more open to hearing them out.

Ontario’s government reviewed the Act and echoed concerns that its provisions were creating undue burdens for business owners. To foster a more business-friendly climate and economic growth, the government drafted Bill 47.

Bill 47, entitled the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, reverses much of Bill 148. It suggests puttinga freeze on the minimum wage until 2020 and rolling back personal leave from 10 days to eight, with no paid days.

The old public holiday formula is now staying in place, with no plans to review it and replace it. Other changes proposed include rolling back rights around scheduling.

What Isn’t Changing?

Bill 47 is not repealing the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act in its entirety. While it does propose rolling back large chunks of the Act’s changes, there are also some things that will stay the same.

Minimum wage, for example, will stay at its current level. Provisions ensuring employees of different sexes are paid the same wage for equal work will also remain in place.

With Bill 47, the Ontario government has responded to concerns raised by business owners. With it, Ontario should become a more business-friendly environment.


Topics: Compliance and Legislation

What Staffing Firm Owners Need to Know about Bill 47 in Ontario

Posted by Stacey Duggan


Dec 3, 2018 9:00:00 AM

What_Staffing_Firm_Owners_Need_to_Know_about_Bill_47_in_OntarioIn late October, the Ontario government introduced Bill 47, the Making Ontario Open for Business Act. The Act was a direct response to the changes to employment legislation under the previous government. Bill 148, or the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, had received a cool reception in the business community.

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Many of the changes in Bill 148 left business owners, including staffing firm owners, scrambling to adjust. Increased personal leave, new formulas for public holiday pay, revised rights around scheduling, and the minimum wage hike were all rolled out very quickly.

Bill 47 has passed and is here to take the pressure off staffing agency owners. Here’s what you should note.

Minimum Wage Will Hold Until 2020

The minimum wage in Ontario jumped from $11.60 per hour to $14 per hour in January 2018 as mandated by Bill 148. Another proposed hike was to be implemented in January 2019.

Bill 47 puts a freeze on minimum wage increases until 2020. Afterwards, the government will introduce a series of scheduled, inflation-tied increases to the wage.

Staffing firm owners who were preparing to deal with yet another increase to the minimum wage should be glad to hear they can revise their budgets for 2019.

Personal Leave Is Shorter and Unpaid

Bill 148 had also introduced expanded personal leave for workers. Under it, workers were entitled to 10 days of personal leave per year, and two of those days were paid.

Bill 47 rolls the number of days back to eight in total. It also eliminates the two paid days. An employee, after being employed for 2 consecutive weeks, will now be entitled to up to 8 unpaid days in the following 3 categories:

Sick Leave – up to 3 unpaid days per calendar year for personal illness, injury or medical emergency.  An employer can now ask for a medical note.

Family Responsibility Leave – up to 3 unpaid days per calendar year to be used for illness, injury or medical emergency of a listed family member.

Bereavement Leave – up to 2 unpaid days per calendar year to be used for the death of a listed family member.

While staffing agency owners need to be aware of any obligation to provide leave time, the removal of paid days reduces the administrative and financial burden.

The Old Public Holiday Formula Is Here to Stay

In May 2018, the Ontario government was forced to review the new public holiday pay formula included in Bill 148. Its review concluded the new formula was insufficient and had actually caused problems. It hadn’t been studied properly before being put in place.

The government suspended the new formula.In early May 2018,the government opted to return to the previous public holiday pay calculation. The previous policy came back into effect on June 1, 2018. It will be in place until December 31, 2019.

What does this mean for you? From now until the end of next year, you can continue using the old formula.

Equal Work for Equal Pay

This will remain based on sex. All the provisions implemented with Bill 148 have been removed.

Therefore, the government is no longer requiring equal pay for equal work on the basis of number of hours regularly worked (i.e. part-time or full-time) or differences in the term of employment (i.e. permanent, casual, temporary, seasonal).

6% Vacation Pay

This ruling remains in effect. Once an employee has a period of five consecutive years of employment at the same employer, they are eligible for 6% vacation pay.

New Requirements around Scheduling Are Repealed

One of the aims of the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act was to find better work-life balance for employees. In light of this, it introduced a series of new rights for workers regarding scheduling.

One of the most notable was a provision allowing workers to refuse on-call shifts if they weren’t notified 96 hours beforehand.

Staffing firm owners likely noted the problems this created for them. Sometimes, you don’t have four days’ notice that you’ll require a worker’s services. Sick days, personal leave, and other unexpected absences can leave employers and agency owners alike scrambling to find people to fill in.

Bill 47 rolls back these provisions, relieving the burden from staffing firm owners and other business owners alike.

Bill 148 Amendments That Remain in Place

Employment Standards Act

  1. Extension of pregnancy/parental leave to a total of 18 months is preserved;

  2. Extension of family medical leave from 8 weeks to 28 weeks is preserved;

  3. Creation of critical illness leave, which includes the ability to take critical illness leave to care for a critically ill adult is preserved (replaced critically ill child care leave);

  4. Creation of child death leave (distinct from crime-related child disappearance leave) is preserved.

Labour Relations Act

  1. Deemed sale of business upon a change of building service providers is preserved;

  2. Power of Board to order votes to take place outside the workplace, electronically or by phone, and to give directions about voting process is preserved;

  3. Prohibition on discharge or discipline of employees without just cause during certain bargaining periods is preserved;

  4. Power of Board to make interim decisions and orders, and to do so without providing reasons, is preserved.


Topics: Compliance and Legislation

Is Your Staffing Agency Compliant?

Posted by Chelsea Henry


Nov 21, 2018 9:00:00 AM


Is_Your_Staffing_Agency_CompliantAs a staffing agency owner, there are many tasks you need to look after. The administrative work of the agency is often a full-time job. If you’re busy enough, it may even be enough to keep two or three people occupied on a full-time basis.

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One of the most time-intensive tasks you need to look after is compliance within the agency. Staffing firms need to remain compliant with all of the rules and regulations around employment, including safety laws, legislation regarding vacations and leaves, and so much more.

Compliance is more important than ever before, partially because of an overhaul of provincial employment legislation. Several provinces have made major updates to their legislation in the past 12 months, and it seems likely more changes are coming.

As these changes come into play, it’s a good time to take stock of compliance in your organization.

Is Your Staffing Agency Insured?

One of the first things you’ll want to look at is your insurance needs. Most agencies require general liability insurance, which protects you if something goes wrong at the worksite, or if a client suffers damages or losses and decides to sue.

You might also want to look into specific types of business insurance, which can help you protect your agency in a number of different scenarios. One example might be commercial auto insurance if employees drive company vehicles.

You should also be working with the workers’ compensation board in your province or provinces of operation. You’ll want to be sure you’re making applicable contributions from payroll to cover insurance in the case of a worker accident or injury. This is all the more important in light of new rules about your legal liability in these situations.

Are You in Line with All Pay Requirements?

There have been many changes to things like minimum wage, vacation pay, and holiday pay in some provinces recently. Now is a great time to check and ensure your staffing agency is still complying with all the of the rules.

Ontario, for example, introduced a new holiday pay scheme in early 2018. This was rolled back in May 2018. The new provincial government is supposed to study the issue and make recommendations, so the formula for calculating holiday pay in Ontario may be changing again.

If you’ve recently expanded to a new province, you’ll want to be sure you’re in line with their regulations about calculating various types of pay.

Are You Offering Training?

Most provinces have requirements for you to provide some forms of training to employees, and training requirements may vary from job site to job site. You should be providing all candidates with information about their rights, safety measures they should be taking, and how to deal with an accident or injury.

This kind of information is especially important for young and vulnerable workers who may need additional support.

Compliance is clearly an important part of running a successful staffing agency. Keep an eye on it, and you’ll be in a better position.


Topics: Compliance and Legislation

Marijuana in the Workplace: What Staffing Firms Need to Know

Posted by Stacey Duggan


Oct 8, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Marijuana_in_the_Workplace_What_Staffing_Firms_Need_to_KnowThe Cannabis Act passed in Parliament in June 2018, setting the stage for legal recreational marijuana in Canada. This makes Canada only the second country in the developed world to make cannabis legal outside of the medical field.

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The Cannabis Act will come into effect in October 2018. There will be many changes when marijuana becomes legal for recreational users, and many industries are already preparing for these new realities. Those in the insurance sector are revising their automobile insurance and homeowners’ policies. Educators are wondering how to keep children safe.

Employers and staffing firms also have many questions about the changes the Cannabis Act will bring to the workplace. How will you deal with a worker who decides to use recreational marijuana? What changes need to be made to employment contracts? What are your responsibilities as an employer?

These questions are important, and staffing firms need to know how to handle marijuana in the workplace.

Staffing Firms Have No Duty to Accommodate Recreational Marijuana

Marijuana will be legal for recreational use in October. What does that mean for staffing firms who are sending workers to clients’ job sites?

First, it’s important to understand there is no duty to accommodate recreational marijuana users. If a worker arrives to a job site under the influence, he or she may be sent home or even dismissed. A worker who is under the influence may not be able to safely perform his or her job, so they cannot remain on the job site.

Clients will need to report these incidents to you if you’re responsible for the discipline of employees. You may need to terminate a worker’s contract with a client. If there are multiple infractions, you may need to terminate your relationship with the worker.

Staffing Agencies Must Clearly Communicate Policies

Many employers are moving to a zero-tolerance policy regarding recreational marijuana usage. If a worker arrives to the work site already impaired or uses marijuana during their shift, they may be sent home or terminated.

Staffing agencies will likely want to consider similar policies. You must clearly communicate these policies to workers. It is important they understand the consequences of using cannabis at the job site or arriving impaired.

You’ll likely need to review and revise some of your other policies. If you conduct drug testing of potential job candidates, marijuana is no longer considered an illegal substance. You may need to revise language in contracts related to past use as it is no longer a criminal act.

Exceptions for Medical Marijuana Usage

Staffing agencies do have a duty to accommodate medical marijuana patients. Workers with an authorization for medical cannabis do not need to submit documentation of their medical need but may opt to do so. This could include a copy of the authorization and a doctor’s note.

These workers will need to be provided with accommodation on the job site. It is your duty to find suitable employment for them that they can perform safely.

The Next Steps

Before October, you should review your employment contracts and language about the use of illegal substances. If cannabis use is mentioned, it will need to be removed from these sections.

You’ll also want to revise your policies about impairment in the workplace. You may already have a policy in place about the use of alcohol during working hours. A policy about cannabis use could be added here. Finally, you’ll need to communicate these new policies and their consequences to your workers. Although marijuana may soon be legal, you do not need to tolerate its use in the workplace.

Finding it hard to keep up with constant changes in legislation? A back office service provider can be a valuable partner to help you remain compliant.


Topics: Compliance and Legislation

5 Expenses Your Staffing Agency Can’t Claim as a Business Expense

Posted by Anna Mastrandrea


Sep 24, 2018 9:00:00 AM

5_Expenses_Your_Staffing_Agency_Can_t_Claim_as_a_Business_ExpenseAs a business owner, you probably know a good deal about business expenses. After all, almost everything you purchase for your staffing agency is considered a business expense of one kind or another. Of course, only some of those expenses are actually tax deductible.

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While you may hear business owners eagerly claiming they can “write that off,” there are many things you may not be able to claim on your taxes.

“What business expenses can I claim?” is a common enough question from staffing agency owners.

The CRA says businesses can deduct certain costs that are reasonable for a particular type of business, so long as they’re incurred for the purposes of earning an income. A staffing agency, for example, could claim the expense of applicant tracking software, since it’s an important tool that allows them to earn income.

What can’t you claim as a business expense? The list may surprise you.

1. You Can’t Claim Snacks for the Staffing Agency Office

Unless you’re a rickshaw driver or bicycle delivery person, the CRA doesn’t consider snacks to be a legitimate business expense. There are a few other exceptions to the rule, such as when you’re travelling for business or you meet at a coffee shop to discuss business with a client or partner.

If you’ve been keeping the office pantry stocked with coffee, tea, and pastries in hopes of deducting the expense on your taxes, you won’t be able to. The same goes for grabbing coffee and donuts for the office meeting. Conferences and more formal meetings may be considered exceptions to the rule.

2. You Can’t Always Claim the Entire Expense

What happens if you purchase a vehicle and use it partially for the staffing agency and partially as a personal vehicle?

You can only write off a portion of the costs, so long as they pertain to the business. If you drive the vehicle for the agency 50 percent of the time, then you can claim 50 percent of the expenses associated with the vehicle. The other 50 percent is considered personal use and is therefore non-deductible.

This may not be as much of a concern for larger agencies, but it is something to keep in mind whenever you make a purchase that will function jointly for personal and professional usage.

3. Life Insurance Is Non-Deductible

You may have heard that you can deduct employee benefits from your tax bill. While this is somewhat true, there are exceptions to the rules. In most cases, you’ll only be able to claim a portion of what you pay unless you’re using something like a health reimbursement arrangement.

Life insurance, however, is always non-deductible, even when it’s included as part of the employee benefits package.

4. You Can’t Claim Grants or Rebates

Suppose you needed to upgrade your IT systems at the agency. As a small supplier, you applied to a government program for assistance with this upgrade. You were given a small grant or a tax rebate.

Those amounts must be deducted from the purchase amount, even if it’s a legitimate business expense. Essentially, this prevents businesses from claiming the same expense twice. If you’ve received financial assistance, you’ve already been paid for it once.

5. You Can’t Claim Owner Salary

If you’re the owner of the staffing agency and you draw from the business or pay yourself a salary, it may surprise you to know this is considered non-deductible by the CRA. While you can write off salaries for most other employees, your own is not considered a business expense in the same way.

The CRA maintains a comprehensive list of tax-deductible business expenses, which you should familiarize yourself with. If you’re still not sure, talk to the experts and get some good advice on what you can and cannot claim for your staffing agency. Whether you’re just starting a staffing firm or have been in business for a while, it pays to know what you can claim.

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Topics: Compliance and Legislation

What Staffing Firms Need to Know about the Pay Transparency Act

Posted by Chelsea Henry


Sep 12, 2018 9:00:00 AM

What_Staffing_Firms_Need_to_Know_about_the_Pay_Transparency_ActThe former Ontario government made many changes to labour laws before being voted out of office in June. One of the most talked-about pieces of legislation was 2017’s Bill 148. This legislation introduced many changes, including revisions to holiday pay. It also raised the minimum wage.

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In March 2018, the provincial government enacted another controversial piece of legislation designed to change labour laws. This bill passed in the House and became known as the Pay Transparency Act.

What is the Pay Transparency Act?

This Act is designed to create more transparency about how employers compensate their staff. The goal of the legislation is to give people more clear information about wages, which will then allow them to challenge unfair practices and cases of discrimination.

Like the changes in Bill 148, the Pay Transparency Act will also affect staffing agencies and how they operate. Here’s what you need to know.

What Does the Pay Transparency Act Do?

This Act, which will come into effect in January 2019, requires a few changes to the way employers and staffing firms advertise jobs. The first change is a new requirement to post a salary range on any job advertisement. The reason for this is to create a public record, which job candidates can then refer to. Employers must offer candidates salaries within the stated range.

Under the Act, employers will also be prohibited from asking candidates about their past salary history. The reasoning is that what someone has been paid in the past should not affect what a current employer is willing to pay for the position.

Workers have new rights under the Act as well. Employers will no longer be able to take action against staff who discuss or disclose their salary. In the past, many employers had non-disclosure agreements built into their employment terms, and they could take disciplinary action against employees who discussed wages.

How Does It Affect Staffing Agencies?

There are a few very obvious effects the Pay Transparency Act will have on the way you operate your staffing agency. The first is that you’ll need to revise any and all job postings to include a salary range. You’ll need to get this information from your clients.

The next change may be to questions you ask during screening interviews. You’ll no longer be able to ask about previous compensation. If you ask about salary history as part of your screening or interviews conducted on behalf of your clients, you’ll want to remove these questions now.

Finally, staffing firms will need to review employment contracts and remove any language about reprimanding staff who disclose or discuss salaries. Non-disclosure agreements will need to be removed or made non-applicable to salary information. If your clients supply the contract, you’ll need to review it.

More Changes on the Way

There is another requirement employers will want to pay attention to, and that’s the reporting requirement of the Pay Transparency Act. Beginning in May 2020, organizations with more than 100 employees will need to monitor pay gaps and report on them.

The reporting requirement is probably the most daunting task, since it requires employers to keep track of yet another payroll factor. Staffing firms, which often employ more than 100 people, will almost certainly be affected by this requirement.

Is the Pay Transparency Act Necessary?

Many people are unhappy about the Act, feeling it adds undue burden to employers’ already heavy workloads. People also point to equal pay laws and non-discrimination legislation on the books in Ontario.

Others feel the Pay Transparency Act, which is the first law of its kind in Canada, is necessary if pay gaps are to be eliminated.

For now, employers and staffing firms alike should be prepared to implement the changes required by the Act. The provincial government may decide to review and amend the law, but for now, you may want to get a helping hand with reporting and other tasks.

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Topics: Compliance and Legislation

Civic vs. Statutory Holidays: What Staffing Agencies Need to Know

Posted by Mai Dowdie


Sep 5, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Civic_vs_Statutory_Holidays_What_Staffing_Agencies_Need_to_KnowStaffing agencies need to pay attention to a number of different factors related to payroll, including regulations about remittances and deductions, overtime, and more. Holidays are another important consideration for those administering payroll and helping clients staff their worksites.

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Staffing Agencies Need to Know What a Statutory Holiday Is

Statutory holidays are also known as general or public holidays. They’re legislated by the federal or provincial government. Some of Canada’s holidays are legislated at the federal level.

There are five nationwide statutory holidays throughout the year. These are New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Canada Day, Labour Day, and Christmas Day. In addition, there are several statutory holidays offered to federal employees. These include Easter Monday, Thanksgiving, and Remembrance Day.

Statutory holidays can also be legislated by provincial governments. Many provincial stat holidays mirror the federal ones, including Thanksgiving Day, Victoria Day, and the August Civic Holiday.

Other Provincial Holidays Abound

In addition to the nationwide statutory holidays and the provincial holidays mirroring the federal list, there are also a number of provincial and territorial holidays. These are not legislated in every province, and they’re not always called the same name.

For example, Ontario schedules the third Monday of February as “Family Day.” Other provinces take this day as a statutory holiday as well, but it may have other names. In Manitoba, for example, it’s known as “Louis Riel Day,” and in Prince Edward Island, it’s “Islander Day.” BC also has a family day, but it occurs on the second Monday of February.

What Is a Civic Holiday?

The other thing staffing agencies need to know is what a civic holiday is. The legal definition is any holiday for which employers are obliged to offer holiday pay. These holidays are legally recognized.

The term “civic holiday” is also used to describe the August long weekend. Not all provinces and territories offer the first Monday of August as a holiday, such as Yukon and Quebec. In BC, Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, and Nunavut, this holiday is a statutory holiday.

In Ontario, Alberta, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, and Prince Edward Island, the August Civic Holiday isn’t a statutory holiday. This means staffing agencies aren’t obligated to offer this holiday to employees, although many employers opt to. Many businesses remain open nonetheless.

Since the Civic Holiday isn’t a statutory holiday in some provinces, it also isn’t technically a civic holiday under the legal definition either.

What Are Optional Holidays?

The August Civic Holiday in Ontario and Alberta is a good example of an optional holiday. Employers are under no obligation to offer either the day off or holiday pay, although many choose to.

Throughout the provinces and territories, there are many optional holidays. Staffing agencies will need to check with their clients to see if they offer any of these holidays to their workers. Remembrance Day is an optional holiday in Ontario. In Prince Edward Island, the Civic Holiday, Thanksgiving Day, and Boxing Day are all optional.

For staffing agencies, it’s important to know which holidays are optional and which are statutory in each individual province. You’ll also need to know which optional holidays your clients give to staff, and you’ll need to understand the rules around scheduling shifts and paying employees for working on a holiday.

Take a look at the rules where you operate and stay one step ahead on holiday pay and scheduling.


Topics: Compliance and Legislation

The Importance of Client Site Safety Inspections prior to Placing Temporary Employees

Posted by Mai Dowdie


Aug 6, 2018 9:00:00 AM

The-Importance-of-Client-Site-Safety-Inspections-prior-to-Placing-Temporary-Employees--compressorWorkplace safety is a topic of concern for many people. Employees, their families and friends, and even the general public are concerned about safer places to work. Governments are also concerned with the subject. They create legislation governing workplace safety for many different industries. 

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Employers should also be concerned about workplace safety. After all, accidents and injuries may damage their reputation, increase their workers’ compensation obligations, or even end with a lawsuit. 

As a staffing agency owner, you too should be concerned about safety in the workplace. It’s why client site safety inspections should be a priority.

What Is a Client Site Safety Inspection?

A client site safety inspection is a safety inspection you or your officers carry out at a client site. Your personnel or an independent, neutral third party you hire will arrive at the client’s site and inspect it with an eye to safety

This should be done prior to placing any temporary workers on the site. It’s a good idea to conduct a safety inspection for every potential new client prior to working with them. You may also want to carry out follow-up inspections on a regular basis.

Why You Need to Do It

In many cases, the staffing agency acts as the formal employer for temporary workers. Your name will be noted down, and if anything should happen to a worker while they’re working on a client’s site, you could be held responsible. 

While it’s the client’s job to ensure the site meets all safety standards and regulations, you can’t assume all clients will ensure their sites are up to date with safety regulations.

It’s imperative you take steps to protect the people working with your agency. Performing a site inspection prior to placing temporary workers is of vital importance.

What Happens If You Don’t?

If you don’t investigate a client’s site prior to placing temporary workers, you may be unknowingly placing your people in unsafe conditions. Temporary workers often feel they don’t have the right to refuse unsafe work, so they may not report unsafe conditions on a client’s site.

This increases the risk of someone being injured on site. While it’s impossible to avoid all workplace accidents, due diligence must be done to ensure all necessary steps to prevent such accidents and injuries were taken.

As the staffing agency owner, you may think only the client would be held responsible. After all, it’s their site and they were the ones who failed to ensure compliance with workplace safety regulations.

It is up to you, however, to ensure the environments you send temporary workers are safe for those workers. You are also liable if an accident or injury occurs. Completing an inspection is important for you and your workers.

What If a Client’s Site Is Unsafe?

If you conduct a client site safety inspection and find it to be unsafe, you have a few options. You can provide to the client a list of things that need to be corrected and steps to be taken. Insist these changes be made before you place a temporary worker with this client.

If this is a new client, you may decline to work with them. This may be the right option if the client indicates an unwillingness to make the necessary changes.

Keeping your temporary workers safe and healthy is important to you. A client site safety inspection is one step toward this goal.

Things You Need to Know When Starting a Temp Staffing Agency

Topics: Compliance and Legislation

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