In June 2015, the government awarded independent contractors $3.3 billion to replace thousands of public-sector jobs.
Some have been criticised for their poor performance and lack of oversight.
But what’s the legal status of the contract?
Here’s everything you need to know.
What is an independent contract?
A contract is an agreement between two or more parties, such as employers and employees.
It generally requires a written agreement between them and the government.
It usually involves payment to one party, such a company or company director.
But some contracts may also require a more informal arrangement.
Under federal law, a “contract” is an arrangement between two people or organisations for a definite period of time.
The parties involved must be bound by the agreement and the terms of it.
There is no requirement that the contract be binding, but the government may seek to enforce a contract against someone who breaches it.
What does an independent contractors’ union say?
The National Federation of Independent Contractors’ Local 2727, which represents independent contractors, says its members are disappointed by the government’s decision.
“The government’s decisions on the future of this contract have been poorly received by the community, and have not been communicated effectively to the employees,” the union said in a statement.
How is an employee compensated? “
We have had many complaints about the poor performance of contractors and have heard many times that they are being unfairly treated.”
How is an employee compensated?
A “contractual arrangement” means that a person agrees to work for the government for a fixed period, but does not necessarily have to be a member of the company or employee group.
The government typically pays the full contract price for the job, with some exceptions.
Some contracts are structured to compensate workers for working for the company for up to two years, while others allow for shorter periods of employment, or for more flexible terms.
What about labour laws?
In many parts of Canada, an employee must be covered by a collective agreement or collective agreement that includes a collective bargaining agreement between the employee and the employer.
But the rules vary across provinces.
The Fair Labor Standards Act, for example, covers workers across Canada.
The National Union of Public Employees, a union representing workers in the public service, says the federal government needs to “adopt its own rules and regulations to govern the conduct of independent contractors”.
The National Employment Standards Commission has been asked to review the government contract’s terms, and the Fair Labor Board of Canada is investigating whether there were any breaches of federal labour law.
Is the contract legal?
If you’ve got a complaint about the work being done by an independent contracting contractor, you can file a complaint with the provincial or territorial labour code.
But you must do so in writing.
If the government has failed to follow the contract rules, the company can be fined.