Presentation on theme: "Employment Agencies in Alberta Service Alberta. Fair Trading Act (FTA) The FTA establishes standards of behaviour for any business dealing with consumers."— Presentation transcript:
Fair Trading Act (FTA) The FTA establishes standards of behaviour for any business dealing with consumers in Alberta. The FTA identifies and prohibits unfair practices, including misrepresentation, undue pressure, or taking advantage of a consumer. Specific types of businesses are regulated under the FTA based on historic issues or to establish codes of conduct. Employment agencies are a designated business under the FTA. Breaches of the FTA or regulations can be subject to fines of up to $100,000 or three times the value of the money gained through the breach and up to two years imprisonment.
Unfair Practices Businesses entering into transactions from Alberta or with consumers from Alberta are prohibited from engaging in unfair practices, including: misrepresenting the nature of the transaction; taking advantage of a consumers inability to understand an aspect of a transaction; entering into a transaction where the agency knows or ought to know the consumer cannot receive any reasonable benefit; including terms that are harsh, oppressive or excessively one-sided. The unfair practices apply to every transaction, not just employment agency transactions.
Employment Agency Business Licensing Regulation Prohibits employment agencies from demanding a fee, reward or compensation, directly or indirectly, for securing or endeavouring to secure employment or from a person seeking employment or information regarding employers. Trade unions and vocational schools as identified by legislation are exempt, as are businesses that secure or endeavour to secure employment for persons or persons for employment as domestic servants in private homes or for athletes or artists in their area of expertise.
Licensing Specifics Any person securing persons for employment in Alberta, securing employment for persons in Alberta or evaluating or testing persons for employers in Alberta seeking employees to be licensed. There are no exemptions based on location or profession. The licence application fee is $120 and licenses are good for two years. Agencies operating under more than one name must have a separate licence for each name, even if operating from the same location. Employment agencies must have an address for service in Alberta and must be registered in Alberta to be licensed.
Fee Prohibition Cannot demand fees for services related to securing or endeavouring to secure employment, except for reasonable, voluntary fees for resume preparation. Cost recovery of third-party charges (application fees, travel costs, etc.) is allowed, as long as there is no profit element. Services unrelated to the securing of employment (training, settlement) should be covered in a separate agreement, be voluntary and any fees must be reasonable. Employment agencies cannot charge a fee to someone seeking employment or information on employers seeking employees.
Other Details of Note (1) If an employment agency is securing employees for positions in Alberta, they must be licensed, regardless of the location of the business or the employee. The exception for this is if an agency is acting as a recognized agent of a licensed agency. In these cases, the licensed agency is responsible for the activities of their agent. Employment agencies cannot misrepresent or take advantage of the lack of understanding of the employee. Misrepresenting wages, position, cost of living, or rights as a temporary foreign worker or employee is a breach of the FTA.
Other Details of Note (2) The FTA applies only to the transaction between the consumer (employee) and the employment agency. Business to business transactions are not covered by the FTA. Businesses that are aware of a breach of the legislation or licensing requirements are welcome to report this to our offices for investigation. Our enforcement activities are legal processes, so statements or evidence related to the breach or unlicensed activity are important aspects of enforcement.
Other Service Alberta Legislation Employers and employment agencies acting as a landlord are subject to the Residential Tenancies Act. Employees with employer provided housing are tenants and have the same rights as other tenants in Alberta with regards to notices and access, with one exception. After termination of employment, notice of termination of tenancy by an employer-landlord that meets the legislated requirements should be served. Employment agencies are responsible for meeting the requirements of the Personal Information Protection Act.
Next Steps A review of the Employment Agency Business Licensing Regulation is currently underway. Consultation with stakeholders, including licenses, industry associations, service organizations and employers is planned. Service Alberta can provide confirmation of agency licensing and confirm whether an agency has been subject to formal enforcement actions. Complaints regarding employment agencies from employers or employees will be responded to, but enforcement action requires that the complainant be willing to make a statement and may require that they testify.