Treated like second class workers – not getting public holiday pay, vacation pay and having to pay fees for work only to be denied access to permanent work. These are just some of the conditions facing temp agency workers who make 40% less then permanent workers. That is why the Workers’ Action Centre has been calling on the government to take action on temp agency work and all precarious work that leave all too many working yet poor.
The Ontario government has responded. On May 21, 2008, Labour Minister Duguid released “A Consultation Paper on Work through Temporary Help Agencies.” In this paper, the government says it is “committed to ensuring that employees working through temporary help agencies are properly protected under the law.” The government wants responses on some of the key issues facing temp agency workers:
- Public holiday pay for temp agency workers
- Who’s responsible when temp agency workers don’t get their pay or other employment rights
- Barriers to permanent employment
- Fees charged to workers by agencies
- Ensuring workers get information about assignments.
The deadline for response is July 7, 2008. After that we hope to see changes brought forward in legislation this fall.
Much is at stake
Winning real improvements on these issues would bring significant gains for temp agency workers. Making both the company and the agency responsible for employment standard violations would be a huge step forward in recognizing that temp workers have two employers. This would enable workers to better enforce their rights. Stopping fees and barriers to employment and ensuring temp workers get public holiday pay like everyone else would bring fairness that is long over due. But there is more we need to push for – equality between temp agency workers and permanent workers is just one of the issues not raised.
What can you do?
1) Make a submission.
Let the government know how temporary workers in your community and workplaces need effective labour laws that are enforced. We will send out more information on the consultation paper and our response shortly. If you need help drafting your submission, contact the Workers’ Action Centre. Please feel free to use the Workers’ Action Centre brief. It will be available June 6th on our website
You can find additional information on temp agency work in our report, Working on the Edge, found on the website.
Don’t have time to draft a submission? Take a look at the WAC brief and send a letter to the government saying you endorse WAC’s brief.
Please send WAC a copy of your submission – firstname.lastname@example.org
Deadline for submission: July 7, 2008. Details on submissions are provided below.
2) Join WAC in preparing for a Bill on temp agency work this fall.
Contact Deena Ladd or Sonia Singh at the Workers’ Action Centre 416-531-0778 to find out more.
3) Join the Ontario Workers Need a Fair Deal campaign.
We need to ensure that any changes brought in for temporary agency workers not only protect temp agency workers but also help move the struggle forward to protect people in low wage and precarious work. Hiring workers indirectly through temporary help agencies is just one of the ways that employers are looking to shift the costs and liabilities of employment to people who least can afford it. Workers who are in other forms of precarious work also need to be protected from violations and have access to statutory benefits. We must use the consultation paper and any Bill on temp work to win improvements and build momentum to expand employment standards to protect all workers and improve enforcement.
For further information:
Deena Ladd, Workers’ Action Centre
416-531-0778 ext 222
Sonia Singh, Workers’ Action Centre
416-531-0778 ext 221
How to Respond to Consultation Paper
To view the consultation paper, http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/about/consultation/tempagencies/index.html
Comments on the Consultation Paper must be provided by July 7, 2008 to:
Temporary Help Agency Employees Project
400 University Ave, 12th Floor
Toronto, ON M7A 1T7
Fax: 416-314-5855 Attn: Temporary Help Agency Employees Project