Bill 139

Bill 139 Client Facts Sheet

What is Bill 139 and when does this Bill come into effect?

It’s Provincial Legislation introduced by the Ontario Government to protect the Assignment Employees under the Employment Standards Act. As of November 6th 2009, this new provincial bill will impose new rules for assignment employees and present significant changes to the temporary staffing industry businesses.

What are the new rules to follow when Bill 139 comes into effect?

1) Work Assignment Requirements

When offering a work assignment with a client, Temporary Agencies must now provide all of the following information in writing to the temporary employee:

  • The Agency’s name, address, telephone number & website
  • The contact name at the Temporary Placement Agency
  • The Assignment Details such as job title, duties, pay rate, estimated start date, estimated end date, estimated hours of work, pay period and pay frequencies.
  • The Client’s Name, Address, telephone number, work location, the contact name at the client’s site
  • Any PPE required and supplied, the hazards, any special instructions/reporting instructions.

2) Employment Relationship

The legislation stipulates that the employee relationship begins the moment the agency and person agree whether or not or in writing to assign the person to perform work at the client’s site.

  • The intake of resume, internal initial testing/assessments, interviews and internal orientation and introduction to the client do not commence the employment relationship.
  • Client specific orientation and client specific testing/assessment do initiate the employment relationship.
  • The assignment employee’s employment does not stop when the assignment ends..

3) Elimination of the Fees

As of November 6th 2009, temporary agencies are only allowed to charge a “buy out fee / finder’s fee” or a “temporary to perm fee” to their client within first the 6 months from the first day the assignment employee performed work for the client company. Any types of fees charged to the assignment employees are prohibited. The 6 months is not paused or interrupted by gaps in service, volume of work or duration of the assignment. In addition, temporary agencies cannot charge a fee in connection with assigning or attempting to assign the employee to perform work on a temporary basis for clients (i.e. criminal checks, security clearance).

4) Clients Reprisal

Under Bill 139, clients are equally responsible and will be held accountable if they fail to adhere and comply with the rules and regulations. Clients can be held accountable for terminating, penalizing or threatening an assignment employee for (but not limited to):

  • Making inquiries about their rights/ Exercising or attempting to excise his/her rights under this Act
  • Filing a complaint with the Ministry under Bill 139/Providing information to an ESA Officer
  • Testifies or is required to testify in a proceeding under this Act
  • Is or will become eligible to take a leave such as pregnancy leave, parental leave and emergency leave.

Furthermore, the client can also be ordered to pay any unpaid wages and/or money owed in trust to the Director of Employment Standards.

5) Elect to Work Exemption – Public Holiday Pay, Termination and Severance Obligations

Prior to January 2nd 2009, the ESA had special rules for “elect to work employee” which excluded associates for full public holiday pay entitlement, notice of termination and severance due to the nature of “elect to work” employment. Once the bill 139 comes into full effect, these “elect to work employees” will have the same rights to public holidays, notice of termination and severance as any other employee in Ontario.

Termination Obligations
The most significant changes Bill 139 imposed on the temporary Staffing Industry is the elimination the Employment Standard Act exemptions had for “elect to work employee” which excluded assignment employees for full public holiday pay entitlement, notice of termination and severance due to the nature of “elect to work” employment.

Severance Obligations
Severance is owed when the employment of an assignment employee who has been employed for more than 5 consecutive years is severed.

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