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Ontario Politician Would Target Staffing Firms

December 18 2012

Ontario politician Harinder Takhar says he would crack down on temporary staffing firms if his party chooses him to succeed Dalton McGuinty as premier of Ontario; McGuinty is stepping down. However, watchers of Canadian politics say the comments are just grandstanding, and the Ontario government already had legislation, Bill 139, in 2009 that focused on the staffing industry.

Takhar, in an online announcement, said he would:

  • Establish a strict licensing scheme for temporary agencies in Ontario.
  • Require agencies to pay temporary workers a minimum of 80 percent, in salary, of the fee they are charging the hiring firm.
  • Require the number of temporary workers in any establishment not exceed 25 percent of the total permanent workforce, with exemptions for casual seasonal workers.
  • Introduce a semi-annual “temporary help agency report” to open the lines of communication between the Ontario Ministry of Labour and temporary placement agencies in Ontario. The report would be completed by staffing firms and include information such as the number of workers hired out, demographics, total number of assignments and total length of assignments for each worker.

However, there’s no way these measures can be made by the time an election is expected later this year, said Steve Jones of BusinessLeadershipCorp. Jones is also a former president of the Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services.

“This is a nonstarter as far as I’m concerned,” Jones said.

Takhar is not likely to be selected for the premier role and the party stands a good chance of not winning in the next election, Jones said. The announcement appears as a move to gain attention among his own constituents.

Substantive reform was already made with Bill 139, Jones said. “Another substantive change like this, it’s just not within the party platform.”

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