A business’ obligations to its workers will depend on whether the workers are employees or independent contractors. However, a recent decision reminds us that, even where a worker is a true independent contractor, this distinction may not preclude a business being liable to third parties, such as customers, when the worker does something wrong.
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently awarded an employee $50,000 in punitive damages in a wrongful dismissal claim because it was “rationally required” to punish the employer for its behaviour toward the employee and to meet “the objectives of retribution, deterrence, and denunciation”.
The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: Meal and vehicle rates used to calculate travel expenses for 2016; important changes to form RC59 coming; and case about employee who was awarded punitive damages in dismissal claim.
The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: The Federal government`s introduction of legislation for a stronger Canada Pension Plan and a more secure retirement for Canadians; a case where the Ontario Labour Relations Board had to decide whether a worker was an employee, and not an independent contractor, as under the Employment Standards Act, 2000; employer compensation budgets for 2017.
Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: a case that looks at employment relationships, particularly between dependent and independent contractors; a case that looks at workplace accommodation for an employee who uses medical marijuana; and proposed amendments to Ontario legislation in relation to the public use of e-cigarettes and medical marijuana, that would have a variety of impacts on the public, businesses, and employers.
For over 25 years, clients have been asking me whether a person is an employee or a contractor in various legal contexts.
A brave new world? – Probably not but employers sometimes have to deal with 26 months’ notice and “dependant contractors”
The Ontario Court of Appeal has further shattered the “24 month maximum” myth. In Keenan v. Canac Kitchens Ltd., the Court of Appeal upheld a Trial Judge’s finding that two long service workers were “dependent contractors” and therefore entitled to 26 months’ reasonable notice on termination.
Many of the cases I have reviewed in recent years on the question of whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee have inevitably determined that the worker is an employee. While there are some notable exceptions to this trend, I find myself surprised whenever I read a decision that concludes that the worker is in fact an independent contractor. Therrien v Minister of National Revenue, 2013 TCC 116 is one such case.
The three most viewed articles on HRinfodesk this week deal with a company that was the author of its own misfortune when insisting on treating an employee as independent contractor; claims of working notice and constructive dismissal; and the reform of the temporary foreign worker program.
Employees, and employers, frequently seek to paint the employment relationship in a different manner in order to serve whatever goals they may have in either their employment or in the operation of their business. The writer has seen countless “Consulting Agreements” which merely attempt to clothe an employee with some characteristics of an independent contractor in the hope of either reducing taxes or avoiding Employment Standards Act responsibilities.
Increasingly, Canadian courts have recognized an in-between class of agents that are not technically employees or not technically independent contractors. Over the past few years, our courts have come up with a hybrid category of agents called “dependent contractors.” These are independent individuals who work so closely with employers, and whose relationship status with their “employer” is so sufficiently long-lasting, as to allow them entitlement for reasonable notice.