Staffing agencies, especially the newer ones on the block, can often run into trouble trying to keep up with changes in Canadian government policy. If you own a foreign staffing firm opening new branches in Canada, compliance can be much more difficult to navigate. Remaining compliant is vital if you want to avoid detrimental setbacks like heavy fines and prosecution.
All staffing agencies should be prepared to be inspected by Canada’s ministry of labour for compliance. Every year, the ministry carries out what it calls “workplace inspection blitzes” to determine whether businesses in various industries are upholding their workers’ rights and safety. While businesses are given fair warning about the timeframe of a blitz, the recruitment industry relies on compliance.
Continue reading if you want to ensure your staffing agency is prepared for a blitz.
Noncompliance affects the morale and safety of your workers, which in turn impacts the overall success and efficiency of your organization. A lack of efficiency in staffing agencies is particularly noteworthy because, as staff performance levels are reduced, it becomes more difficult to catch up with more established staffing agencies.
LinkedIn’s 2017 survey of 2,000 industry professionals has established that, while the budgets of recruitment businesses are going up, competition is becoming fiercer as well. Staying compliant allows firms to maximize their budgets as well making sure they do right by their workers.
The ministry’s blitzes are thorough and account for violations of both the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the Employment Standards Act (ESA). The last “zero tolerance” blitz enforced in Ontario in March 2017 targeted 103 workplaces and found that only 28 of them were fully compliant.
Common Crime and Punishment
The March 2017 blitz discovered that the most common cases of noncompliance were overworking employees, omitting public holiday and overtime pay, and poor recordkeeping. The ministry stated the recovery of $125,267 in unpaid entitlements. In addition, 42 employers were fined anywhere from $250 to $300.
Ontario’s ministry has reported that, since 2015, the number of executives who have been prosecuted has gone up by 40 percent. The ministry is seriously cracking down on bosses who don’t take employment standards and regulations to heart.
These findings by the ministry are illuminating to say the least. The staffing industry has long had troubles with recordkeeping, and newer firms often contend with mountains of paperwork before they can successfully launch. With compliance measures like blitzes and punishments for noncompliance becoming stricter each year, and with good reason, staffing agencies need to ensure they are compliant from the start.
Blitzes are meant to be proactive and crack down on noncompliance in high-risk sectors as well as sectors that have a history of noncompliance and employ vulnerable workers. Even though you are fair to all your candidates, they are considered vulnerable as temporary workers.
Blitzes aren’t meant to catch employers unaware; they are a necessary measure to protect workers’ rights and safety. Blitzes are also a good reminder of how easy it is for an industry like staffing to let its compliance slide due to lack of administrative diligence.
To ensure you’re staying on top of your back-end duties, regardless of whether it’s related to payroll, records of employment, or taxation, you should outsource your administrative duties. There are experts who can handle all the paperwork you need to keep compliant and even software that can streamline admin to the point of making your entire operation run much smoother.