Contract Workers: Know Your Rights
Over the last decade, Ontario has observed a steady decline in full-time, permanent jobs. During this time, we have witnessed a 20% growth in the number of temp agencies operating in the province. Employers, large and small, prefer hiring contract workers. For years, this practice furnished them with a steady stream of highly qualified and flexible workers while conveniently enabling them to avoid the costs commonly associated with full time, permanent jobs. These include paying out vacation and overtime pay, disability benefits and termination packages.
This series of articles will help anyone working contract jobs to properly understand their rights and obligations.
The Keenan Case
The Keenan Case was widely reported as one of the most influential of 2016, representing a watershed moment for contract worker rights. The judge awarded $125,000 to our clients, Lawrence and Marilyn Keenan, in their wrongful dismissal lawsuit against their long-term employer, Canac Kitchens. This was the highest ever compensation awarded to contract workers, unceremoniously fired after 3 decades of loyal service, without notice and severance. This case influenced legislative changes in Ontario, subsequently brought forward through Bill 148.
Bill 148 and Your Rights
Bill 148, passed in November 2017, brought sweeping changes to how employers engage with contract workers. Consequently, they must classify their workers as employees, dependent contractors or independent contractors.
Misclassifying Contract Workers
Employers can no longer treat contract workers as “independent contractors” if they perform tasks just like employees. The dependent contractor classification is protected by law and affords qualified contract workers the same rights and entitlements as employees.
Contractor or Employee?
Your classification as an independent contractor or employee matters. It could be making your employer richer and you poorer by thousands of dollars, as pizza delivery man, Juan Jose Lira Cervantes, discovered.
CRA & Your Taxes
As a contract worker, you must be very clear about who takes responsibility for remitting your income tax and source deductions to the CRA. This is governed by the Federal Income Tax Act which does not yet recognize dependent contractor status. Therefore, what happens when the CRA wrongfully assesses you as an independent contractor, and responsible for remitting your own payroll taxes, when you are actually a dependent contractor? We helped a client navigate this legal quandary.
Every case we manage is unique and distinctive to the circumstances of our clients. But we see a common theme in all. Our clients lack knowledge about their employee rights and entitlements.
We level this playing field
Top Employment Lawyers In Toronto
Our team of Toronto employment lawyers at Lecker & Associates has helped clients resolve disputes with their employers for over 35 years.
From negotiating fair severance packages, securing disability benefits and offering strategic advice on employment contracts, to litigating egregious human rights violations and workplace harassment cases, we represent our clients aggressively and with swift efficiency.
Unlike others, our focus is singular – We fiercely represent employees of Ontario.
We operate with deep expertise in this field.