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As an engineer, I would like to make sure that I can work on side projects, and have the right to commercialize it; that is publishing on the app store as a paid app, or hosting on the web with a subscription fee. Of course, this wouldn't be in competition with the COMPANY.

With that in mind, I have an offer of employment from a company I really like, and this was one of the clauses that stood out to me. Based on this, do I need to ask for explicit permission to work on such projects?

The Employee shall devote his/her whole working time and attention to the employment during the time thereof, and shall not, without the consent in writing of COMPANY_NAME, engage in, or become a director, manager, employee, or agent, of any other company, firm, or individual which competes with or conducts similar business to COMPANY_NAME, during the term of the employment, nor shall the Employee engage in any other business or occupation whatsoever.

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  • Is this a US employment contract? – Ron Beyer Mar 13 at 14:27
  • It is a Canadian contract; in Toronto, Canada. – States Mar 13 at 14:36
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Yes, your clause specifically limits you to only working for COMPANY, even in your off time.

Canada does not have a law protecting your right to work secondary jobs (moonlighting) in your off-duty hours. This means that any contract clause specifically limiting you to work with the employer only is valid, and breaking it is cause for justified dismissal.

Based on this, do I need to ask for explicit permission to work on such projects?

Yes, you will need to disclose any potential "business or occupation whatsoever". You could play contract games by saying "it's only a hobby" or "it doesn't make any money", but you will be opening yourself up to issues. The best thing to do is to disclose your project to your employer and get in writing their permission to work on it with specific terms that you will not be using company time or resources in any way.

See:

Patterson V. Bank of Nova Scotia

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    OK thank you, I will do so. Any idea how I can secure a "blanket" permission for future projects as long as it is not competing with the company's business? – States Mar 13 at 15:51
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    You probably can't, I wouldn't as an employer... – Ron Beyer Mar 13 at 18:41

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