How Ontario's New Licensing Requirements for Temporary Help Agencies and Recruiters Impact Your Business

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Effective July 1, 2024, Ontario's Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) introduces significant new licensing requirements for temporary help agencies and recruiters. These changes are poised to impact how businesses engage with staffing services and ensure compliance with the law. Understanding these new regulations is crucial for businesses to avoid penalties and maintain smooth operations. In this blog, we will explore how Ontario's new licensing requirements will affect your business and provide actionable steps to comply with the updated ESA regulations.

Understanding the New Licensing Requirements

The new ESA regulations mandate that:
1. Temporary Help Agencies must hold a valid licence to assign workers on a temporary basis.
2. Recruiters must obtain a licence to provide recruitment services for a fee, whether for temporary or permanent positions.
3. Clients are prohibited from engaging unlicensed temporary help agencies or recruiters knowingly.

These requirements apply to any entity operating within Ontario, even if the agency or recruiter is based outside the province. The Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development will list licensed entities on their website, providing a resource for businesses to verify compliance.

Impact on Temporary Help Agencies

Licensing Requirements
To operate legally, temporary help agencies must secure a licence from the Ministry. This includes submitting detailed information about their operations and compliance history. Here's what you need:
Business Details: Name, address, and contact information.
Location Information: Addresses of all business locations inside and outside Canada.
Corporate Information: For corporations, details of officers and directors; for partnerships, information about all partners.

Security Deposit
Agencies must provide a $25,000 security deposit, which can be in the form of an electronic irrevocable letter of credit or a surety bond. This deposit ensures compliance with the ESA.

Compliance and Renewals
Temporary help agencies must stay updated with their licensing status and renew their licences annually to continue operations without interruptions.

Impact on Recruiters

Licensing for Operations
Recruiters must also apply for a licence to operate. This includes recruiters outside Ontario who place candidates within the province.
• Documentation: Similar to agencies, recruiters must provide detailed business and compliance information.
Fee Payment: The application fee is $750, applicable to both initial applications and renewals.

Certain exemptions apply to recruiters handling foreign nationals based on wage levels. Ensure compliance with these exemptions to avoid penalties.

Steps to Apply for a Licence

• Prepare Your Application
Before applying, gather all necessary documentation. This includes:
• Contact and Business Information: Ensure all details are accurate and current.
• Security Deposit: Arrange the $25,000 deposit as required.
• Application Fee: Prepare the $750 fee for online payment.

Complete the Online Application
Access the Ministry's licensing portal and follow these steps:
• Create an Account: Register or log in if you already have an account.
• Fill Out the Application: Provide comprehensive business details and upload required documents.
• Submit Payment: Pay the $750 application fee online.

Monitor Your Application
After submission, monitor your application status through the Ministry's portal. Be responsive to any additional information requests to avoid delays.

Address Refusals
If your application is refused, you can apply for a review by the Ontario Labour Relations Board. Address the reasons for refusal and provide any additional documentation required.

Annual Renewal
Licences must be renewed annually. Prepare for renewal by updating your documentation and ensuring continued compliance.

How These Changes Impact Your Business

Operational Compliance
Non-compliance can result in severe penalties, including fines and legal action. Ensuring your agency or recruitment services are licensed will prevent operational disruptions and financial losses.

Client Relationships
Clients must verify the licensing status of agencies and recruiters before engagement. Failure to do so can lead to fines and damage client trust.

Competitive Advantage
Being compliant with the new regulations positions your business as trustworthy and reliable. Clients are more likely to engage with licensed and compliant partners, giving you a competitive edge.

Avoiding Penalties for Non-Compliance

To avoid the penalties associated with non-compliance, consider these best practices:
Verify Licensing Status
Always check the licensing status of any temporary help agency or recruiter you plan to engage with. Use the Ministry's list of licensed entities for verification.
Maintain Accurate Records
Keep detailed and updated records of your business operations, applications, and compliance with ESA regulations. Regular audits can help ensure ongoing compliance.
Educate Your Team
Train your staff on the new licensing requirements and the importance of compliance. This includes HR teams, procurement departments, and legal advisors.
Monitor Regulatory Updates
Stay informed about any changes or updates to the ESA regulations. Subscribe to industry newsletters, attend workshops, and regularly check the Ministry's website.
Implement Compliance Policies
Develop internal policies to ensure compliance with licensing requirements. Assign a compliance officer or team to monitor adherence to regulations and handle licensing processes.


Ontario's new licensing requirements for temporary help agencies and recruiters bring significant changes that impact how businesses operate and engage with staffing services. By understanding these requirements and taking proactive steps to comply, you can avoid penalties, maintain smooth operations, and build trust with your clients.
At Divino Business Solutions Inc., we specialize in helping businesses navigate these regulatory changes and ensure compliance. Our team of experts is here to provide support and guidance tailored to your needs.

Contact Us Today

For more information or assistance, please reach out to our team at or call us at 1-844-693-5437.