There are many beneficial reasons for independent contractors to work with staffing agencies. Unfortunately, there are some negative views of our industry based on false pretenses. A particular one is with respect to who pays for our services. The straight answer to that is it is always the client.
Staffing agencies are the number one way for people to find work. If you are a temporary employee or an independent contractor then likely you are going to find your next role through the staffing industry – and you should never have to pay for that right to work.
If you are a temporary employee in Ontario, Bill 139 made it illegal for an agency to charge you a fee to work. Whether that is to find you a job or some kind of fee tied to working, section 74.8 of the Employment Standards Act explains.
Elsewhere, even if there is no legislation, both of Canada’s largest staffing industry associations have Codes of Conduct covering this subject, and both have Ethics Committees that will rule in cases where the codes might be broken. (This is a valuable asset and a great reason why candidates should work with members of the industry association).
The Association of Canadian Search Employment and Staffing Services (ACSESS) is Canada’s largest staffing industry association. Their Code of Ethics states “We will derive income only from clients and make no direct or indirect charges to candidates or employees unless specified by a license.”
The National Association of Computer Consulting Businesses (NACCB) Canada represents the “professional” staffing companies. Its Business Principles state “NACCB Canada members will derive income only from clients and make no direct or indirect charges to candidates unless specified by a license.”
Everyone has a right to work and staffing agencies earn their fees from their clients who receive the many benefits of a flexible workforce. If you are ever asked to pay a fee to a staffing agency which is not voluntary then you might want to consider whether (a) it is legal, and/or (b) is it ethically in accordance with the Industry Association Codes of Ethics. Your options then would be to contact the industry associations for advice and support. Here is a link to the Board of Directors at ACSESS and a link to the Board of Directors at NACCB.
Canada’s Staffing Industry provides their clients’ access to a flexible and talented workforce, and the industry provides individuals with a myriad of job opportunities. Credible staffing companies operate under a strict code of conduct and all job seekers should work with credible companies, who abide by the industry codes of conduct.