Exclusive deal not employment

Techie was independent
|Canadian Employment Law Today

A recent decision about employment insurance shows how blurry the line can be between an independent-contractor relationship and an employment situation. In the latter, of course, the employer is obliged to withhold taxes and employment insurance premiums, and can be liable for wrongful-dismissal damages.

The Tax Court had told Quebec’s Vulcain Alarme Inc., for whose customers a Mr. Blouin inspected and gauged toxic substance detectors, that it had to pay employment insurance premiums for Blouin because their relationship amounted to a contract of employment.

The Tax Court judge based its decision on the facts that Blouin reported to Vulcain once a month to get the customer list; he had to provide service to the customers within 30 days and give Vulcain priority over anyone else he worked for; he worked exclusively for Vulcain, although this arrangement was voluntary; he had to submit time sheets and expense reports to Vulcain; and Vulcain supplied a special detector for Blouin’s work.