Temporary Agency Workers - Whose Employees Are They?

AuthorPaul Wearing
Temporary Agency Workers —
Whose Employees Are They?
What You Should Know
Until amendments to the Employment Standards Act, 20001 in 2009,
there was confusion and litigation over the question, whose employees
are temporary agency workers? The amendments sought to clarify th e
identity of the true employer of temporary agency workers. T he law now
mandates that temporary workers assigned to a client of a temporary help
agency are employees of the temporary help agenc y.2 But despite the
statutory declaration in the Employment Standards Act, 2000 that tempo-
rary workers supplied by an agency are the employees of the agenc y and
not the business that they are assigned to, the Ontario Labour Relations
Board will in all likelihood consider temporary agency workers assign ed to
a business to be employees of an employer targeted in a union certif‌ica-
tion application for the purpose of determining the number of employees
in a potential bargaining unit.
When a person and a temporary help age ncy agree, in writing or orally,
that the agency will assign or attempt to assign the person to perform
work on a temporary basis for clients or potential clients of the agency,
the temporary help agency becomes the e mployer of the person and
the person becomes an employee of the temporary help ag ency. The
employer-employee relationship between the temporar y help agency and
the temporary worker continues regardless of whether the worker is on
assignment working for a client of the agency or not. Employment ends

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