Contract workers claim employment status

Contractors claimed company controlled all aspects of their work regardless of what contract said
|Canadian Employment Law Today

This instalment of You Make the Call looks at a dispute in Tax Court over whether five workers were independent contractors or employees.

Promotions C.D. was a distributor of non-food products inside grocery stores and pharmacies in the province of Quebec. The company had a mix of salaried employees and workers it considered to be “self-employed representatives.” Michel Blais, Antoine Corbeil, David Franks, Robert Lavoie and Denis Pilon were five of these representatives who each signed a contract to take orders from Promotions’ customers, picking up merchandise at the regional warehouse and delivering and setting it up in the stores.

The contracts set out the terms and conditions for the workers to sell Promotions products and described them as non-exclusive independent contractors. Promotions paid them on commission every two weeks and they had to pay their own costs. Promotions provided each with a handheld computer and equipment racks but nothing else. The workers were also free to sell products from other companies, as long as they didn’t compete with those of Promotions, and hire their own sales staff to help without any input from Promotions. Each worker carried business cards provided by Promotions.