The employment relationship is founded in the contract
between the employer and employee. Many contractual terms are
dictated by statute, and others are negotiated between the
Indefinite vs Fixed Term Employment Contracts
Indefinite Term: The contractual relationship has no
fixed end date.
Fixed Term: The parties have agreed to a specific
timeframe or task upon which the relationship ends. This
distinction is important to determine the employer's statutory
and common law obligations at the termination of the
Independent Contractor vs Employee
The distinction between an employee and independent
contractor is not easy to define. Rather, it involves a
contextual analysis of the relationship between the employer and
There is no conclusive test which can be universally
applied to determine whether a person is an employee or an
The Supreme Court of Canada said that the central
question is whether the person who has been engaged to perform
services is performing them as a person in business on his/her own
account.2 To answer this question, consider the following
Employee's level of control over the worker's
Whether the worker provides his/her own equipment;
Whether the worker hires his/her own helpers;
The worker's degree of financial risk; and
The worker's opportunity for profit.
It is necessary to consider both the contract and the facts of
the circumstances to make this determination.
Contract OF Services vs. Contract FOR Services
The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) has published an
Operational Policy Manual that lists several
characteristics that can be used to determine whether one is a
worker or an independent contractor. This policy document indicates
that there is a distinction between persons employed under a
"contract of services" and persons employed
under a "contract for services."
Contract OF Services: The foundation
of an employer-employee relationship. A worker agrees to work for
an employer on a full- or part-time basis in exchange for wages or
a salary. The employer has a right to control what work is
performed, in what manner, and when.
Contract FOR Services: The foundation
of a business relationship. One person agrees to perform specific
work in exchange for payment. The employer does not necessarily
control the manner in which the specific work is done, or the time
or place where it is performed.
Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
A former teacher at Bodwell High School has learned a valuable lesson from the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal— it is not discriminatory for an employer to offer child-related benefits to only employees with children.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).