Personnel placement agencies and temporary foreign worker recruitment agencies: a new regulation changes the game, be prepared

On November 27, 2019, the Government of Quebec published the new Regulation respecting personnel placement agencies and temporary foreign worker recruitment agencies (the “Regulation”), which shall come into force on January 1, 2020. 

As mentioned in a previous article dated April 17, 2019, and entitled Draft Regulation Respecting Personnel Placement Agencies: Consultations Underway on Likely Impacts, this new Regulation namely has the effect of imposing close monitoring on personnel placement agencies and temporary foreign worker recruitment agencies. 

Few changes have been made to the Draft Regulation. 

We have listed and now present to you the important elements of this new Regulation which you will need to pay attention to in order to prepare your enterprise accordingly. 

New definitions 

The new Regulation namely offers a definition for the personnel placement agencies and temporary foreign worker recruitment agencies. These agencies are defined as follows: 

Personnel placement agency:

“a person, partnership or other entity that has at least one activity consisting in offering personnel leasing services by providing employees to a client enterprise to meet its labour needs”;

Temporary foreign worker recruitment agency:

“means a person, partnership or other entity that has at least one activity consisting in offering services for the recruitment of temporary foreign workers for a client enterprise or in assisting the enterprise in its efforts to recruit such workers.” 

These are broad definitions that apply to either a self-employed person or a corporation that has at least one activity which is subject to the Regulation. 

The obligation to obtain a licence for personnel placement agencies or temporary foreign worker recruitment agencies 

The new Regulation provides for the obligation for any personnel placement agency or temporary foreign worker recruitment agency to obtain an agency licence. 

Thus, any person, partnership or other entity wishing to obtain such licence must make an application to the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité (“CNESST”). This application shall be sent to the CNESST by means of a form. The duration of the licence will be two years. The fees for obtaining it will be $1,780 for 2020, payable in two annual instalments. These fees will then be indexed annually. 

The holder of either of these licences will have to meet certain obligations, including: 

  • Inform the CNESST of any change likely to affect the validity of the licence; 
  • Display the licence or a reproduction of the licence so that it is prominently displayed in each of its establishments
  • Indicate the licence number on every document commonly used in the course of its activities or for advertising purposes, including invoices, contracts and websites. 

The Regulation also provides for different obligations depending on the type of licence held by the agency. 

Obligations of the personnel placement agency 

In the case of the personnel placement agency, the Regulation states that the holder must provide the employee assigned to a client enterprise a document describing the working conditions applicable within such enterprise. The document should mention, among other things, the wage offered and the name and contact information of the enterprise. 

The agency must also provide the employee with documents prepared by the CNESST and which contain certain information on labour matters. 

The agency will have the obligation to keep, for at least six years, the various contracts entered into with its client enterprises, as well as the invoices related to these contracts. With regard to employees, the agency must keep, for the same duration, the information relating to the total number of hours of work, per day and per week, for each employee. 

Finally, it is important to mention that the personnel placement agency cannot charge an employee for his assignment with a client enterprise. It is therefore the client enterprise that will have to pay these fees. 

Obligations of the temporary foreign worker recruitment agency 

The obligations of the temporary foreign worker recruitment agency are similar to those of the personnel placement agency, except that such agency will have to ensure that any person within the enterprise who advises, assists or represents a person in connection with his immigration application, must have the status of immigration consultant or must be a member of the Barreau du Québec or of the Chambre des notaires du Québec. 

The temporary foreign worker recruitment agency cannot charge any fees to a temporary foreign worker for his recruitment other than those authorized by a Canadian government program. These fees are likely to be borne by the client enterprise. 

Security and the CNESST power to suspend or revoke the licence 

In addition to the aforementioned obligations, any application for a licence must be accompanied by a security in the amount of $15,000. The purpose of this security is to guarantee the execution of a judgment, in the event that the agency or one of its client enterprises fails to pay an employee the salary due to him. 

Finally, if the CNESST considers that the licence holder is failing to meet its obligations, it may suspend or revoke the licence. 

In conclusion … a regulation that will change the game 

As of January 1, 2020, this new Regulation will govern personnel placement agencies as well as temporary foreign worker recruitment agencies. 

It will impose numerous obligations on the agencies, which will now need a licence to continue to offer their services. These new rules will also affect the clients of these agencies. 

If you are an agency or do business with one of them, we invite you to read the Regulation. In order to ensure that you meet all the requirements for obtaining a licence, we also invite you to consult our labour law team before January 1, 2020, the effective date of the Regulation. 

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