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Distinguishing Employees and Independent Contractors for the Purposes of Employment Standards Legislation Open Access


Other title
precarious employment
precarious workers
floor of rights
employment standards
purpose of employment standards
workplace rights
employee status
control test
worker protection
dependent contractor
contractor rights
employment relationship
independent contractor
working conditions
labour standards
organization test
decency in working conditions
workplace law
non-standard employment
vulnerable workers
common law tests of employment
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Adams, Lorrie M
Supervisor and department
Dr. Eric Adams (Faculty of Law)
Dr. Russell Brown (Faculty of Law)
Examining committee member and department
Dr. Eric Adams
Dr. Greg Anderson
Dr. Russell Brown
Faculty of Law

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Laws
Degree level
Employment standards legislation implicitly acknowledges that the employer and employee relationship is often an unbalanced one in which the individual worker does not always have sufficient bargaining power to negotiate conditions of employment that are not exploitative. This thesis examines the lack of access to employment standards protections for workers who share the same vulnerabilities as employees but who are denied access to these standards because of their status as independent contractors at common law. The author examines evolving workplace practices and the validity of the assumptions about such matters as control and risk that underlie the common law tests. The present practice of superimposing the common law into statutory definitions is examined in light of established principles of statutory interpretation. The purpose of employment standards legislation and role of administrators enforcing employment standards legislation are considered with suggestions for improving decision-making in cases involving ‘independent contractors’.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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