Baby Steps? Toward the Regulation of Temporary Help Agency Employment in Canada
48 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2009
Date Written: October 29, 2009
This paper provides a critical examination of recent policy developments in Canada towards the regulation of temporary help agency employment in Canada. The contextual description provided includes analysis of recent trends in the growth of temporary help agency employment in Canada, and a review of emerging labor policy concerns. Policy “problems” are identified, under explicit normative assumptions provided in the paper. Subsequently, the paper then provides an assessment of the trajectory of Canadian policy reform through a review of four key policy process “moments” within three different regulatory jurisdictions in Canada (the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, as well as the Federal jurisdiction), which collectively reveal the nature of recent policy discourse and the trajectory of policy development. Chronologically, these four moments were the establishment by the Quebec provincial government of the “Bernier Commission” and the publication of the “Bernier Report” in 2003; the establishment of the Federal Labour Standards Review Commission by the federal government (the “Arthurs’ Commission”) and the publication of the “Arthurs’ Report” in 2006; the sponsoring of Ontario’s Bill 161 in 2007, a private member’s Bill that was ultimately not passed by the Ontario legislature; and the legislative passage of Bill 139 in Ontario in May 2009. It is argued that in light of the overall context, including salient policy concerns and contrasting developments in Europe, recent Canadian developments and dialogue are comparably minimal, yet reveal aspects of a pattern in Canadian policy trajectory or, the direction of “baby steps” in this domain.
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