Workers signed contracts that specified they were independent contractors

Tax - Income tax - Employment income

Company hired 44 workers for production of television series in Quebec. Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) concluded that 44 workers were employees of company and held insurable employment under s. 5(1)(a) of Employment Insurance Act. Conclusion was based on sample of 11 workers hired as associate producer, production coordinator, assistant director, gaffer, assistant cameraman, costumer, grip, and production assistants. Company appealed. Appeals allowed for nine workers and dismissed for two workers. Workers, except for two production assistants, were found to be independent contractors. Company and workers had subjective intent that contractual relationship was one in which independent contractors hired themselves out. Certain indicia may be unfavourable to company but did not carry sufficient weight in circumstances of television production to change conclusions. Workers who were hired through association benefited from similar provisions regarding minimum conditions of employment to those that existed in PPB case, which found workers in television production industry were independent contractors. Associate producer, production coordinator, assistant director, gaffer, assistant cameraman, costumer, grip and two production assistants, DR and PW, were independent contractors, even if some of them thought of themselves as employees. These workers signed contracts that specified they were independent contractors, had limited supervision, had no set schedule, could be replaced, and did not work exclusively for company in some cases. Production assistants PDL and EL were employees as they signed deal memo that did not specify that they were independent contractors, were students, had no expenses, and worked under direct supervision.

MWW Enterprises Inc. v. M.N.R. (2019), 2019 CarswellNat 2219, 2019 CarswellNat 2220, 2019 TCC 127, 2019 CCI 127, Lucie Lamarre A.C.J. (T.C.C. [Employment Insurance]).

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