Recruitment agencies can have different roles in different countries. In this post, we’ll be breaking down what you need to know about working with recruitment agencies in Canada – from what fees apply, to what service they provide.

Employment/recruitment agencies exist for three main purposes:

  1. Assist companies/employers with recruiting employees for their open jobs.
  2. Match job seekers to employer positions.
  3. Test or evaluate job-related skills on behalf of companies.

Agency fees: what is chargeable and what is not?

Chargeable Fees

  • Recruitment agencies in Canada are allowed to charge employers (companies) for services delivered.
  • Recruiters can charge job seekers/candidates a fee for certain services, provided these services are not directly related to the recruitment. Examples of chargeable services could include resume preparation, job-skills training, etc. In such circumstances, a separate written agreement must exist that quotes the fee. However, the fee must not be charged as a condition to help the individual find work.

Prohibited Fees

  • A recruitment agency cannot demand or collect a fee from someone it is helping to find work.
  • An agency is also prohibited from demanding or holding a deposit or bond from the employee, even if there is a promise to refund the fee.
  • The recruiting agency cannot direct the employer to recover the costs of agency services from the employee.

Recruitment agencies and immigration representatives

Though the two are easy to confuse, it is important to understand the differences. An immigration representative is a person hired by a foreign employee to conduct business on their behalf with the Refugee Board, the Canada Border Services Agency or the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). Whereas an immigration representative can directly engage the CIC, an employment agency cannot negotiate with the CIC on behalf of a worker. Immigration representatives however have no authority to assist a person to secure work in Canada.


For job seekers, the greatest advantage of working with recruiting agencies is that agencies have access to the inner job market; they can reach employers more easily through their vast networks. For employers, recruiting agencies are a time-saving and reliable method of finding the right employees.