Friday, August 31, 2012

Government implements tougher rules to protect job seekers

New rules will be coming into effect September 1 to strengthen protection for all job seekers, including temporary foreign workers, who use employment agencies.

“The regulation will help protect job seekers whether they are new to Alberta or have lived here a long time,” said Service Alberta Minister Manmeet Bhullar. “As Alberta’s economy continues to grow so will the demand for workers and this government is making sure there is greater protection for potential employees who choose to use employment agencies.”

Currently, the Employment Agency Business Licensing Regulation prohibits agencies from charging workers a fee for finding them jobs. Businesses that assist employers in Alberta to find workers, or assisting Canadians or non-Canadians to find employment in Alberta must be licensed by the provincial government.

The strengthened regulation now makes employment agencies more accountable and aids in complaint investigations. Employment agencies will be required to clarify and expand their record keeping; operate in their licensed name; register their agents; and enter into written agreements with employers and job seekers. The majority of employment agencies that recruit internationally will be required to provide a $25,000 security before September 30.

Changes to the regulation provide additional protections for job seekers. It is illegal for businesses to mislead temporary foreign workers about their rights or their chance of becoming a Canadian citizen; pressure workers to lie to Canadian officials; intimidate or threaten individuals seeking work; mislead job seekers or misrepresent employment opportunities; or require workers to provide a performance bond.

“These new rules will help improve protection for all job seekers,” said Randy Upright, vice-president of the Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services. “Reputable employment agencies welcome these changes and see them as a positive step to improving standards in the industry.”

In June, Service Alberta sent letters to all licensed employment agencies to inform them of the changes and new requirements. Letters were also sent to all non-licensee employment agency stakeholders in August. The Employment Agencies tipsheet, available online at explains how the new rules work.

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