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Why is an employer saying I have to be an independent contractor?

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Why is an employer saying I have to be an independent contractor?
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Why is an employer saying I have to be an independent contractor?
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Reviewed: 
March 30, 2018
Answer

An independent contractor is someone who runs their own business. Independent contractors are self-employed and do not have the same rights as employees.

Some employers ask people to agree that they're running their own business and selling their services to the employer. Employers may do this so that they do not have to follow the legal rules that cover employees.

Different rights of employees and independent contractors

The rights you have and the steps you can take to enforce your rights are different if you're an employee or an independent contractor. The Employment Standards Act (ESA) does not give rights to independent contractors.

So, for example, if you're not paid for your work as an independent contractor, you might have to go to court to try to get your money.

There are fees to start a court case and there's a risk you'll have to pay some of the defendant's fees if you can't prove your case.

As an employee, you may be able to choose between going to court and making a claim with the Ministry of Labour. You don't have to pay fees to file a claim and the Ministry looks into what happened.

Even if you sign something that says you're an independent contractor, you still might:

  • be an employee
  • have rights that an employee has

So, for example, you may have the right to be paid for working overtime.

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