Once bitten twice shy: Greater scrutiny ahead for employees misclassified as contractors

October 22, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by Jackie VanDerMeulen

Organizations’ use of independent contractors (often also referred to as consultants) as opposed to actual employees has grown significantly over the years. This trend comes as no surprise in a changing economy where particular skill sets are required at specific times and where flexibility is a key driver of success. In some cases, the characterization of a relationship as one of independent contractor is driven by requests from workers themselves, often to take advantage of certain tax benefits.

There are lots of great reasons to use independent contractors as part of a workforce. Increasingly however, adjudicators, plaintiff lawyers, and legislators are challenging employers who “misclassify” workers as independent contractors. A finding that a worker (or group of workers) has been misclassified can result in significant liability for an organization. Employers may therefore want to think twice before using independent contractors.

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More employee benefits on the horizon for Canadians

July 16, 2017 0 COMMENTS

The year 2017 may be remembered for its significant changes in matters of labor and employment across Canada. Several jurisdictions are amending their labor and employment regimes, including the federal government. With the introduction of Bill C-44, the federal government has adopted significant reforms to the Employment Insurance Act and the Canada Labour Code.

While federally regulated employers will want to pay close attention, it is worth noting that these reforms are already trickling down to the provincial level. Indeed, some provinces have proposed amendments to their provincial employment and labor legislation, all of which signal a trend toward more employer scrutiny in the labor and employment spheres, as well as a shift toward more employee-friendly rules. Employers should be cognizant of these changes as they are implemented at both the federal and provincial levels.

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