Canada’s small employment agencies feel threatened with Bill 27 requiring to pay large amounts!
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Canada’s small employment agencies feel threatened by Bill 27 requiring them to pay large amounts!
Ontario’s new law designed to protect immigrant and vulnerable workers from sketchy recruitment companies could end up hurting legitimate employment agencies, according to some small business owners.
“Bill 27 is actually designed to protect immigrant and vulnerable workers,” said Suky Sodhi, president of Elite Global Recruiters. “If you look at the premises behind it, it is to stop them from being exploited, and I am all for that. But the idea is that by being licensed, dubious agencies are going to go out of business. They are just going to find different ways to cheat.”
Bill 27 requires agencies to be licensed and to set aside a $25,000 fund to cover potential loss of wages and benefits due to unfair labour practices. Between 2020 and 2021, the Ontario government uncovered unfair labour practices that led to more than $4.2 million in wages owed to 10,000 employees who were directly linked to recruiters and temporary staffing agencies.
Travis O’Rourke, president of Hays Canada, called the changes a “large step towards compliance in an industry that has very little as a barrier of entry.”
But small employment agencies in Ontario are concerned, that the compulsory fund which has to be in place at the beginning of 2024, will add to their operating costs and make it tougher for new arrivals in Canada to find work at a time when economic prospects are bleak.
They feel it is unfair for every company — small and huge — to pay such large amounts and have banded together to make their case before Ontario Premier Doug Ford as well as the Ministry of Immigration, Labour, and Skills Development.
Many businesses are still repaying the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loans from the federal government, which helped to sustain them during COVID lockdowns. CEBA allowed companies to claim up to $60,000 in loans, of which one-third is forgiven as long as the rest is returned by Jan. 18, 2024.
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