November 14, 2017

Ontario government misses the mark with new law governing contract workers, CATA lobby group says new law will hurt workforce

Unintended consequences of Bill 148, Fair, Better Jobs Act, 2017 

Many highly-skilled professionals in high demand jobs opt for contracting as their preferred workforce engagement. Having a flexible, mobile workforce is one of the ways we can build Canada’s economic success. (CATAAlliance)

Ottawa, ON…CATAAlliance, Canada’s One Voice for Innovation lobby group, has called on the Ontario government to introduce a fact based test in place of  ‘reverse onus’ provisions on Employers organizations set out in Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017.

reverse onus clause is a provision within a law that shifts the burden of proof onto the individual specified to disprove an element of information. In the case of the proposed legislation, the employer would be required to prove that a contract worker meets the criteria of the legislation and is a true contract employee who is not being taken advantage of by an employer.”

CATA CEO John Reid, said,  ” The terms ‘precarious employment’ and ‘contracting’ and ‘independent contracting’ are wrongfully being used interchangeably. They are not a homogeneous group and are in fact quite different things. “

He added, “ For many knowledge workers, a career that includes periods of independent contracting is a positive thing – it provides them opportunities for superior compensation, skill specialization and an entrepreneurial approach to work.”

Studies show that self-employed workers or independent contractors with high demand skill sets have high job satisfaction. Only 7.5 percent of self-employed workers and 9.4 percent of independent contractors ( Forbes, 2015)  would prefer to seek alternate employment.”

Benefits of Independent Contractors in the Workforce

  • Highly skilled and highly demanded
  • Entrepreneurial in nature, operating their own businesses and engaging with clients in pursuit of maximizing their personal well-being and flexibility
  • Net job creators (generating 5 Service Worker jobs for each knowledge worker (be it full time or contract) as compared to 1.2 Service Worker jobs per manufacturing worker)
  • Engaged in growth sectors of the economy, in particular technology

According to Andrew Moffat, COO at Human Resource Systems Group Ltd., Entrepreneurial leader and member,  CATA Innovation Leadership Council, “  The Ontario government’s proposed law for Contractor classification is nebulous. There is no way for an organization to be 100% sure of legal compliance. Guidelines for classification are subjective, and established through case law, which is itself shifting based on evolving court decisions, so that engagements that were previously in compliance may later come to be in doubt.”

He stresses that , “ Reverse Onus’  is a very blunt approach that introduces an impossible to manage risk and uncertainly for any private or public organization that does work with independent contractors.”

Reid, concluded, “ If the risk of using independent contractors is too great, tech employers will begin to move work elsewhere in Canada or make an outright overseas move where there are more flexible approaches to workforce engagement. We would like the Ontario Government to change how a contract worker is defined and treated in the law in order to better reflect the realities of the workplace.”


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Contact: CATAAlliance at, tel: 613-699-8209, website:, tags: Innovation. Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Advocacy