The provincial government has recently charged a couple of Edmonton employment agencies under the Fair Trading Act and Employment Agency Business Licensing Regulation that governs them. They were both charged on allegations of collecting fees illegally from temporary foreign workers for finding them work in Canada. The law is designed to prevent workers, including foreign ones who tend to be more vulnerable, from exploitation by unscrupulous businesses.

In both cases, the job recruiters had collected fees in excess of five figures from multiple victims from Southeast Asia. Charges included operating an unlicensed employment agency, misleading or deceiving a consumer, charging prospective employees to help them locate employment and charges related to misrepresentation.

Employers using the services of recruitment agencies are reminded to be diligent when selecting a provider. If they are recruiting workers into Alberta, whether they are based in the province or not and the workers are foreign or not, they must be licensed provincially. Employers are at particular risk when they are complicit in the knowledge that their employment agencies are engaging in illegal activities.