There are many types of recruiters, including for-profit and non- profit recruitment agencies. Recruiters in Canada cannot legally charge workers for their services, so employers should pay these fees. Since there is no federal body regulating recruiter activities, provinces are moving ahead with their own regulations.

For example, in Alberta, “businesses are required to be licensed by Service Alberta regardless of where they are located if they help employers in Alberta find employees, help employees find work in Alberta or evaluate or test people for employers seeking employees.” Under the Fair Trading Act (FTA), all businesses are required to have an Employment Agency Business Licence, including employment or recruitment agencies. Service Alberta has developed some tips on choosing an employment agency.

In Manitoba, both employers and recruiters must be registered with the Government of Manitoba’s Employment Standards Division.This is a requirement for the inclusion of temporary foreign workers under the Worker Recruitment and Protection Act (WRAPA). For more information about recruiters, see the FAQ section of the BuildForce Canada Industry Guide on their TFW site.

How can I tell if a recruiter or recruitment agency is reputable?

Most employers who have experience hiring TFWs will tell you: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” This definitely applies to recruitment agencies. Some recruitment agencies are employment specialists, while others may play a variety of roles. However, recruiters can no longer offer the services of an immigration consultant unless a  member of their staff is a member of Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC).

The Service Alberta Consumer Tip Sheet – Employment Agencies is a good place to learn about what makes an employment agency reputable.

Note to employers

Employers with experience in hiring ITWs have indicated that a reputable recruiter or employment agency will:

Note to employers in Nova Scotia

  • Effective May 1, 2013, employers who choose to hire a recruiter for foreign worker positions in Nova Scotia are require to use the services of a licensed recruiter listed on the provincial Labour Standards website.
  • Effective August 1, 2013, employers hiring or wishing to hire a foreign worker will require a certificate of registration from the province’s Labour Standards. These one year certificates are currently available online. However, proof of registration will not be mandatory until August 2013.

What is the difference between recruiters/labour brokers in Canada and abroad?

Whether a broker is located in Canada or abroad is not important. Some Canadian recruiters may work from offices inside and outside Canada. What distinguishes the two types of organizations is whether the recruiter is licensed to operate as a business in Canada. Choosing a company that is licensed to practice in Canada may help ensure that the company has met a minimum set of standards and is easier to contact if something requires attention.

Recruitment companies in Alberta must be licensed in the province and in Canada. For more information and useful checklists see the Government of Alberta’s Temporary Foreign Workers: A Guide for Employers. If you plan to use a paid service, find out the types of services they provide.

Table 2: Comparison of services offered in the recruitment, selection and integration of ITWs by type of provider

Note: Table 2 displays the range of services agencies may offer for ITW recruitment, selection and integration. It is offered as an example only; specific services will vary from provider to provider. A particular agency may provide all or some of these services.

Services offered in recruiting ITWs

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

Assist with job analysis, gap analysis

 

 

x

 

 

x

 

 

Provide information on how the immigration processes work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

x

Arrange international job fairs

x

 

 

 

 

x

 

 

Locate candidates

 

 

x

x

x

 

 

 

Pre-screen/short list candidates

x

 

x

x

x

 

x

 

Interview

 

 

 

x

 

 

x

 

Home country skills and language testing

 

 

x

 

x

x

 

 

Credential assessment

 

 

x

x

x

x

 

 

Reference/work experience checking

 

 

x

 

x

x

x

 

Select the worker

 

 

 

x

 

 

 

 

Home country work preparedness training/upgrading

 

 

x

 

 

 

 

 

Pre-screen government application for correctness/completeness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

x

Assist with preparing government applications

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

x

Arrange travel

 

 

x

 

 

 

 

 

In-Canada orientation/settlement services

x

x

 

x

x

 

x

 

In-Canada work preparedness skills training/upgrading

 

 

x

x

 

 

x

 

In-Canada work preparedness language training/upgrading

 

 

x

x

 

 

x

 

Liaise with government for credential testing/recognition

 

 

x

x

 

x

x

 

Advise and help with extending work permits

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

x

Assist employer with transition to PNP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

x

Assist employee with transition to PNP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

x

Legend

  1. a non-profit provincial construction association
  2. a non-profit regional construction association
  3. a for-profit recruitment agency owned by a non-profit college
  4. a for-profit private sector recruitment agency
  5. an embassy for a country sending workers to Canada
  6. a provincial government
  7. an immigrant serving organization (ISO)
  8. an immigration consultant, who is a member of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council(ICCRC)

Is there legislation that governs recruiters?

There are no national guidelines or regulations governing recruitment agencies across Canada, but some provinces have legislation in place. For example, all recruiters in Alberta must be licensed under the Alberta Employment Business Licensing regulation, which follows the regulations of the Canadian Fair Trading Act (FTA). For more information, Service Alberta has developed some tips on choosing an employment agency. Manitoba also has legislation that governs recruiters and requires them to be registered. For more information see the foreign worker recruitment licence informationavailable from the Manitoba government.

Who pays the recruiter?

Recruiter fees are primarily the responsibility of the employer. The only time an agency can charge a fee to the worker is for services such as résumé preparation. The agency cannot insist that the potential worker use their fee-based services as a condition for helping the worker find work. Under the FTA, the following activities are not permissible:

  • no fees can be charged to workers for placement services (finding them a job)
  • it is against the law to require individuals to provide non- refundable (or refundable) bonds or deposits in case the work term or employment contract is not completed
  • it is illegal for employers to recover the costs of employment agency/recruitment services from the employee (this is a violation of the FTA)

What questions should I be asking recruiters?

To determine whether recruiters’ services will be useful, employers should consider asking the following questions:

  • What services does the recruitment agency provide?
  • What do they expect from employers?
  • What is the screening process the recruiter uses to ensure workers have the skills for the job?
  • Is the recruiter licensed to operate as a business in Canada?
  • Does the recruiter have a list of fees for services provided to people seeking employment?
  • Can the recruiter provide a reference list of Canadian companies and TFWs who have used their services?

Immigration consultants

Employers may choose to hire an immigration consultant, also referred to as an “authorised representative,” to help them and potential employees through the immigration process. Immigration consultants do not usually participate in the recruitment process but are brought on board after a candidate has been selected.

An immigration consultant or lawyer is the only representative who may charge a fee to represent or advise an ITW on immigration matters. Immigration consultants or lawyers must be:

As of June 30th 2011, it is an offense for people who to do not fall into these three categories to offer immigration services for a fee or other consideration. An employer or an ITW does not need to hire an immigration consultant to apply for a work permit or permanent residence.

For more information about immigration consultants, see the CIC’s immigration representatives – Choose carefully web page.

This page last updated June 2013.