Temp agency workers will now have more protection on the job, thanks to years of mobilizing by our communities. The Ontario government proclaimed today Schedule 5 of Bill 18, the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, making it possible to hold client companies using temp agencies responsible for workplace injuries.
This is an important victory. Under the old rules, the company where temp agency workers were assigned did not have responsibility for agency workers’ injuries and illnesses, ie. for their workplace compensation premiums. Instead, companies were able to shift this financial liability to temp agencies. This meant that temp workers were put at greater risk for getting hurt on the job, since employers often hired temp workers to perform dangerous jobs, without even providing proper health and safety training and protections.
Today’s change will put the responsibility for injuries and the costs of workers’ compensation premiums where it belongs – on the company using temp agency workers.
While we celebrate this victory we know our fight for stronger protections for all workers is far from over. For temp agency workers this especially means putting an end to perma-temping.
Let’s make sure temporary agency jobs are truly used for temporary purposes. Some employers rely on temp agencies to keep their costs low at the expense of workers. At Fiera Foods where 3 temp agency workers died on the job since 1999, 70% of the workers are temporary workers reported Toronto Star – even though the company had previously said that “it uses temp agency workers to meet fluctuating demands.” This has to stop.
The victories we’ve won to date show that our pressure is working! The equal pay for equal work law that came into effect this past Sunday is another one of these wins. This will stop agencies from reaching into the pockets of workers by requiring that temp agency workers get paid the same hourly wage as their directly hired co-workers who do comparable work. Now let's keep pushing for more:
- Companies should not be allowed to hire more than 20% of their workforce through temporary staffing agencies.
- Temp agency workers should be converted to direct employees of the client company after 3 months on an assignment. The client company and temp agency must be required to provide just cause, if, at the end of the assignment, another worker is hired to do the work previously done by the temp agency worker.
- Temp agency and the client company should be held jointly liable for ALL employment rights of temp workers – for example, personal emergency leave and misclassification of workers
Thank you for your ongoing participation in our collective fight for a $15 minimum wage and fair working conditions. With the Big Business lobby and its candidates campaigning to roll back our wins, we have a lot at stake with the June 7 Ontario election. Let’s send a clear message to all political parties that our communities have high expectations for them to deliver on a decent work agenda. Click here to download our campaign leaflet to learn more and help us spread the word by sharing it with 3 friends or forwarding this email.