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I work as a contractor for a company. A (small) dispute arose over an invoice I submitted. Out of retaliation the company cancelled my scheduled shifts. Are they allowed to do that? This is in Canada. It happened in BC but the governing law on the contract says Alberta.

The contract doesn't really specify anything about this, however the company does have a policy against cancelling confirmed shifts.

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Something's not right here ...

You say you are a "contractor" but you have "scheduled shifts"?

At first blush, it sounds like you are an employee.

Answer these questions:

  • Can you decide when you will perform the work?
  • Can you decide where you will perform the work?
  • Can you decide how you will perform the work?
  • Do you provide your own tools and equipment?
  • Can you hire others to perform the work?
  • Do you get paid for what you produce rather than by the hour?
  • Can you make a profit or loss?
  • If you stuff something up, do you have to fix it at your own expense?

If you didn't answer yes to at least some and preferably most of those questions, you're an employee, not a contractor.

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  • In this situation wouldn't it be better to be a contractor? If I was an employee, to my understanding, shifts can be cancelled and I would have no recourse. I guess it could be argued this would be unjust termination since she said she wouldn't be scheduling me again... – Geitonogamy Dec 1 '19 at 9:25
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    You can’t “decide” to be a contractor if you are actually an employee. In your situation it’s probably better to be an employee - then you can put in a claim for unpaid annual leave, public holiday pay, penalty rates for overtime etc with your unfair dismissal claim. – Dale M Dec 1 '19 at 10:36
  • Would it make a difference if they didn't deduct tax from my pay? Would that suggest I was a contractor or that the company was being negligent? – Geitonogamy Dec 1 '19 at 13:19
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    @Geitonogamy Rather the other way around: if the tax authority decides you are employee based on the tests above, they will tax you as an employee regardless of what you and the company say you are. taxpage.com/articles-and-tips/tax-planning/… – Paul Johnson Dec 1 '19 at 16:33

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