Independent Contractors

Municipalities and other organizations often use casual workers to meet manpower needs for specific skill sets, equipment, or seasonal work. The question can arise as to whether those workers are independent contractors or more in the nature of true employees. Zupan v. Vancouver (City), [2005] BCCA 9, examines the relationship between an individual hired by the City of Vancouver on a casual but regular basis.

The appellant in this case was a truck operator who was regularly engaged by the City to do work that involved the use of his truck. His services were no longer used when it was determined that a substitute driver that he employed used marijuana while driving the truck on City business.

The Court examined the spectrum of employment relationships from true employee to independent contractor and found that the appellant was not in any “intermediate” employment position that would require resonable notice upon termination.

The case is a reminder that parties to a “working arrangement” should put their minds to what that relationship is and what present and future responsibilities and obligations flow from that relationship.

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