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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When Must Individual Contractors Receive Reasonable Notice?

January 25, 2010 0 COMMENTS

By Donna Gallant

A recent appeal court decision demonstrates once again that defining work relationships is far from an exact science. Somewhere on the spectrum between employees and independent contractors, we have seen the emergence of “dependent contractors.” What hasn’t been entirely clear is how one determines “dependent contractor” status.  Nor what that status means in terms of the worker’s entitlements on termination.

The Ontario Court of Appeal in McKee v. Reid’s Heritage Homes Ltd. attempts to shed some light on these issues. The decision may have broad ramifications across Canada.

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