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Independent Contractors

"Independent, Dependent or Employee -- How Would you Describe Your Contractor?"

Barb Cornish, at Singleton Urquhart in Vancouver, has published an article entitled, "Independent, Dependent or Employee -- How Would you Describe Your Contractor?" (April 12, 2010).

The article discusses the Ontario Court of Appeal's December 2009 decision in McKee v. Reid's Heritage Homes Ltd., 2009 ONCA 916, in which the court reaffirmed:

  1. the existence and definition of the dependent contractor relationship; and
  2. that such individuals are owed reasonable notice (or payment in lieu) on termination.

Only 464 self-employed have registered for employment insurance benefits during first 23 days coverage available

Only 464 self-employed individuals have registered for employment insurance benefits during the first 23 days that expanded coverage has been offered. This figure is found in Don Cayo's column in today's Vancouver Sun. Cayo attributes the slow take up so far among the self-employed to two factors:

  1. no sense of urgency. However, as Cayo notes, the federal government is offering a significant incentive to those who register by March 31, 2010: an eight-month wait before benefits can first be claimed, instead of 12 months; and
  2. lack of awareness of the program.

I have written previously about this expanded coverage in posts here and here.

"Intellectual Property Ownership – An Employer’s Perspective"

The law firm of Sisson Warren Sinclair LLP in Red Deer, Alberta have prepared a brochure on "Intellectual Property Ownership - An Employer's Perspective" (undated). Among other subjects, the brochure addresses copyright and patents, and employment contracts and technology agreements.

"From Independent Contractor to Employee"

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal - Ontario

Megan Wright (now Megan Burkett) at Keyser Mason Ball in Ontario, has written an article entitled, "From Independent Contractor to Employee"(undated).

The paper addresses the question: at what point does an independent contractor become an employee? 

Ms. Wright notes that a non-exhaastive list of questions that are asked when examining this issue are:

  1. Does the company control the contractor's activities?
  2. Does the company provide equipment to the contractor?
  3. Does the company assume all the risk in the projects with the contractor?
  4. Does the contractor maintain an office at the company and only works out of such office?
  5. Does the contractor participate in the company benefit plans?
  6. Does the company reimburse the contractor for expenses?
  7. Does the contractor work during hours specified by the company?

"Fairness for the Self-Employed Act" will allow self-employed to collect maternity, parental and other special EI benefits

As expected, the Conservative government introduced legislation today - the Fairness for the Self-Employed Act  - that will allow self-employed individuals to opt into the employment insurance plan and collect maternity, parental, sickness and compassionate-care leave benefits.

CBC News has a story here. The federal government's news release is here.

Legislation to be introduced to allow self-employed access to maternity and parental EI benefits

The federal government will be introducing legislation tomorrow that will allow self-employed individuals access to maternity and parental leave benefits under the Employment Insurance program, according to this Globe and Mail story.

Determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

In the recent decision in Smith v. Centra Windows Ltd., 2009 BCSC 606, the BC Supreme Court reviewed the legal principles that will be applied in determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. Specifically, the court noted:  read more »