For Canadian employers, the required notice of termination for a worker is no longer a simple calculation based on years worked as an employee. A January 2019 decision in Ontario determined that, in some cases, if a worker’s service included engagement as a contractor for an extended period before being hired as an employee, that time as a contractor should be accounted for when issuing a notice of termination.
In the case of Cormier v. 1772887 Ontario Limited, eight years of additional contractor service – between 1996 and 2004 – resulted in a change from 29 weeks’ pay in lieu of notice to 21 months of pay. The original complaint was based on the plaintiff’s claim of years working as a dependent contractor, but the judge added that the same years of service would also count for an independent contractor.
Takeaway: Employers need to consider the factors involved in any employment relationship carefully – especially in how they handle worker terminations. A long relationship may require a notice of termination period that applies to employees, even if that notice period differs from the original contract. A set of rules for testing worker status and the means of applying those rules will go a long way in avoiding surprises in pay and termination.
This update contains general information only, and AGS is not rendering legal advice. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult qualified legal counsel. AGS shall not be responsible for any loss whatsoever sustained by any person or company who relies on this update.