Step-by-Step Guide to Applying for a Temporary Help Agency or Recruiter Licence in Ontario

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Starting July 1, 2024, new licensing regulations under Ontario's Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) will require all temporary help agencies and recruiters operating in Ontario to hold a valid licence. This change is designed to ensure compliance, enhance transparency, and protect workers' rights. As a business owner or manager, understanding how to navigate this new licensing process is crucial to avoid penalties and ensure smooth operations. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the steps to apply for a temporary help agency or recruiter licence in Ontario.

Why Licensing is Important

Obtaining the proper licence under the new ESA regulations is essential for:
Legal Compliance: Operating without a licence can result in substantial fines and legal action.
Credibility: Licensed agencies and recruiters are seen as more trustworthy by clients and candidates.
Operational Integrity: Licensing helps maintain high standards in recruitment and staffing practices.

Step 1: Preparing for the Application

Before you begin the application process, it's crucial to gather all necessary documentation and understand the requirements.

1. Required Documentation

For Temporary Help Agencies:
Business Information: Name, address, and contact details of the business.
Location Details: Addresses of all operating locations.
Corporate Information: Names and addresses of corporate officers and directors.

For Recruiters:
Business Details: Name, address, and contact information.
Corporate Details: Information about partners or directors.
Compliance History: Documentation of compliance with relevant employment laws.

2. Security Deposit
Agencies and recruiters might need to provide a security deposit. This is typically a $25,000 electronic irrevocable letter of credit or surety bond to ensure compliance with the ESA.

3. Application Fee
Fee Amount: $750
Payment Method: Mastercard, Visa, or debit options available online.

Step 2: Accessing the Online Application Portal

To start your application, you will need to access the Ministry's online application portal.

1. Creating an Account
Visit the Ministry's Licensing Portal. Create an account or log in if you already have one.

2. Starting Your Application
Select the Appropriate Licence: Choose whether you are applying for a temporary help agency licence or a recruiter licence.
Follow the Guided Steps: The portal will guide you through the application process, prompting you to enter the required information and upload necessary documents.

Step 3: Completing the Application

Filling out the application accurately and thoroughly is crucial to avoid delays.

1. Entering Business Information
Business Name and Contact: Provide the full legal name of your business and contact information.
Location Addresses: Include all business locations, both inside and outside Canada.

2. Providing Corporate Details
Corporate Officers: List names and addresses of all corporate officers or partners.
Compliance History: Document your compliance with relevant employment regulations.

3. Uploading Documents
Security Deposit Documentation: Upload proof of your $25,000 security deposit.
Application Fee Payment: Complete the payment online and upload confirmation.

4. Reviewing and Submitting
Review Your Information: Ensure all fields are correctly filled out and all documents are uploaded.
Submit Application: Click submit and save a copy of your confirmation email.

Step 4: Monitoring Your Application

After submitting your application, monitor its status through the Ministry's portal.

1. Check Status Regularly
Access Your Account: Log in to the licensing portal to check the status. You can monitor your application status here.
Respond Promptly: If the Ministry requests additional information or documentation, provide it promptly to avoid delays.

2. Decision Notification
Approval: If approved, you will receive your licence and can legally operate.
Refusal: If refused, review the reasons provided and prepare to address them.

Step 5: Handling Application Refusals

If your application is refused, you have the right to request a review by the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

1. Understand the Refusal
Review Reasons: Carefully read the reasons for refusal provided by the Ministry.
Gather Supporting Documents: Collect any additional information that can address the issues highlighted.

2. Apply for Review
File for Review: Submit a request for review to the Ontario Labour Relations Board within the specified timeframe.
Provide Additional Information: Include any supporting documents or explanations needed for the review.

Step 6: Renewing Your Licence

Licences must be renewed annually. Prepare for the renewal process to avoid lapses in licensing.

1. Update Documentation
Review Current Information: Ensure all your business details are up to date.
Renewal Application: Complete the renewal application on the licensing portal.

2. Renewal Fee
Pay the Fee: The renewal fee is $750, similar to the initial application fee.

3. Monitoring Renewal
Track Status: Monitor the renewal application status and respond to any additional requests from the Ministry.

Tips for Successful Compliance

To ensure smooth operations and avoid penalties, follow these best practices:

1. Maintain Accurate Records
Detailed Documentation: Keep records of all licensing documents, business activities, and communications with the Ministry.

2. Verify Licensing Status of Partners
Check Licensing: Verify that any temporary help agency or recruiter you work with holds a valid licence.

3. Educate Your Team
Training: Train your staff on the new licensing requirements and compliance procedures.

4. Stay Updated
Regulatory Changes: Regularly check the Ministry's website for updates or changes to the licensing requirements.


Navigating the new licensing requirements for temporary help agencies and recruiters in Ontario requires careful preparation and adherence to regulations. By following this step-by-step guide, you can ensure compliance and avoid potential penalties. Keeping your licence up to date and maintaining good compliance practices will position your business as a reliable and ethical partner in the staffing industry.

Need Assistance?

For personalized support and guidance through the licensing process, contact Divino Business Solutions Inc. at or call us at 1-844-693-5437. Our team of experts is here to help you navigate these changes smoothly.

About Divino Business Solutions Inc.

Divino Business Solutions Inc. specializes in providing compliance support and staffing solutions to businesses in Ontario. We help our clients stay ahead of regulatory changes and maintain operational excellence.