Temporary workers

Temporary work, particularly work procured through temporary work agencies (temp agencies), is increasingly common in our changing economy and its demand for a flexible labour market. This type of employment involves workers who are employed by temporary work agencies and then hired out to perform work at, and under the supervision of, clients of these agencies. IWH research looks at the nature of temp agency work as it relates to workplace injuries, illnesses, workers’ compensation and return to work.

The Toronto Star logo
IWH in the media

Temp agency proposal leaves workers vulnerable, legal clinics say

A new policy on temp agencies under consideration at the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board is “inadequate” and fails to “address and rectify the very real dangers temporary employment agencies pose to workers,” says a coalition of Toronto-based legal clinics. Sara Mojtehedzadeh reports in a story citing Institute for Work & Health research on temporary agency workers.
Published: The Toronto Star, February 2018
The Toronto Star logo
IWH in the media

Undercover in temp nation

Amina Diaby died last year in an accident inside one of the GTA’s largest industrial bakeries where, the company says, worker safety is its highest concern. The 23-year-old was one of thousands of Ontarians who have turned to temporary employment agencies to find jobs that often come with low pay and little training for sometimes dangerous work. The Star’s Sara Mojtehedzadeh went undercover for a month at the factory where Diaby worked
Published: The Toronto Star, September 2017
Office cleaner with back turned
Impact case study

Ontario intends to make client employers liable for injury-related cost of temporary agency workers

With regulatory change, Ontario's Ministry of Labour addresses gap in experience rating system after IWH study shows temp workers falling through the cracks.
Published: December 2015
The Toronto Star logo
IWH in the media

Ontario employers cashing in on temporary workers

The second in a four-part series looks at the precarity of temp agency work. The Institute for Work & Health's Dr. Ellen MacEachen is interviewed about her research on injury risks among temp agency workers.
Published: The Toronto Star, May 2015
Project report
Project report

Understanding the management of injury prevention and return to work in temporary work agencies

How are temporary work agencies organized to manage injury prevention and return to work in light of their non-standard organization? How can we better protect the workplace health of temporary work agency workers? This report shares the results of a study that aimed to answer these questions, focusing on job placements for unskilled and semi-skilled jobs by temporary agencies of all sizes.
Published: July 2014
At Work article
At Work article

Temp agency workers falling through cracks in OHS system

The complex employment relationship between temporary agency workers, temp agencies and client employers creates loopholes and incentives that may leave low-wage temp agency workers more vulnerable to workplace injuries, says new research from the Institute for Work & Health.
Published: July 2012
IWH Speaker Series
IWH Speaker Series

The management of OHS and return-to-work issues in temporary work agencies

Temporary work agencies are a growing phenomenon and an increasingly established part of new flexible labour markets. Studies have shown that agency workers are at greater risk for occupational accidents and diseases than permanent workers. However, little is known about the management of injury prevention and return to work within temporary work agency contexts. In this presentation, Dr. Ellen MacEachen talks about the findings from an IWH study on the organization of health and safety in temporary work agencies.
Published: April 2012
At Work article
At Work article

Investigating temporary employment in Canada

For more than eight years, IWH researchers have explored the impact of temporary employment and other non-standard work forms and arrangements on worker health. Read about some of the latest findings.
Published: October 2011
A man sits in an empty diner, head in hand
Research Highlights

Precarious employment may affect worker health

A longitudinal study of a representative sample of Canadian workers finds certain work characteristics are linked with precarious employment and put workers at increased risk of poor physical health.
Published: January 2011
IWH Speaker Series
IWH Speaker Series

The impact of temporary employment and job tenure on sickness absence

Previous studies have suggested that temporary employment and job tenure are associated with work-related health risk exposures and the ability to take a sickness absence, but these studies have not considered the nature of the employment contract in a longitudinal framework. This study investigates the impact of temporary employment on work-related and all-cause sickness absences of one week or more with a focus on how these outcomes are moderated by factors related to social protection (job tenure, union membership and firm size).
Published: May 2010