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New Ontario Recruiter Licensing Requirement & Prohibition on Cost Recovery by Recruiters & Employers

Updated: Mar 6

Effective sometime in 2024, temporary help agencies and recruiters will be required to hold a license in order to be able to act as a recruiter in Ontario.

Temporary help agencies and recruiters can apply for a licence starting July 2023.

A temporary help agency is an employer who assigns their employees to work at a third-party employer on a temporary basis. Temporary help agencies based outside of Ontario who assign employees to work at locations in Ontario are also required to be licensed.

Recruiters are those, who, for a fee, find or attempt to find employees for employers in Ontario or employment for prospective employees in Ontario.

Persons who work “in-house” to find employees to work for their employer are not considered “recruiters” and do not require a license to perform this function. Other organizations that may be excluded from the requirement to be licensed as recruiters include: certain educational organizations; trade unions; and registered charities.

Recruiters are prohibited from charging fees to foreign nationals. Under the Ontario Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals Act, 2009, (“EFPNA”) s. 7(1) recruiters are prohibited from directly or indirectly charging any fees to a foreign national employed or attempting to find employment in Ontario under an immigration or foreign temporary employee program.

Recruiters are prohibited from charging a fee for any “service, good or benefit” provided to the foreign worker. This includes fees for both “optional and “mandatory” services such as orientation sessions, assistance or instruction with respect to resume or job interview preparation, image consulting, first aid training sessions, and classes. Any services provided by a recruiter to a foreign national must be free of charge to the foreign national.

Recruiters are permitted to charge fees to employers and prospective employers. However, these fees must be recorded in compliance with the record-keeping requirements of the EFPNA. Employers are not permitted to recuperate any fees paid to recruiters from foreign workers.

Under the EFPNA, employers are also not permitted to recover either directly or indirectly any costs incurred in hiring or attempting to hire the foreign national.

Under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR), employers are also not permitted to recover from foreign workers any costs incurred in the process of recruiting temporary foreign workers under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) or the International Mobility Program (IMP) including

· the cost of using a third-party representative,

· advertising fees,

· fees paid by the employer for assistance or advice in hiring or recruiting foreign workers,

· the $1000 LMIA processing fee under the TFWP, or

· the $230 employer compliance fee under the IMP.

Employers and recruiters are permitted to recover from foreign workers the $100 Temporary Resident Visa government processing fee, the $155 Work Permit government processing fee, and the $200 Temporary Resident Permit government processing fee (Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) R209.2(1)(a)(ix) and R209.2(1)(a)(x)).

Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations - Prohibition against cost recovery by employers

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