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Independent Contractors

Appeal Court: Syncrude not "employer" under human rights legislation of contractor who failed drug test

Jurisdiction: - Alberta
Sector: - Oil & Gas

In Lockerbie & Hole Industrial Inc. v. Alberta (Human Rights and Citizenship Commission, Director), 2011 ABCA 3, the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled that Syncrude was not the "employer", within the meaning of the Alberta Human Rights, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Act, of a contractor who failed a drug test.

The contractor was employed by another company, Lockerbie & Hole Industrial, that was providing services to Syncrude.

Notably, the Alberta Court of Appeal set out the following tests for determining this issue:

In summary, a contextual approach is required to decide whether a particular relationship qualifies as "employment" under the Act. A number of factors must be taken into consideration including:  read more »

"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.