Dependent Contractor

Dependent contractors are a form of employment relationships recognized in Ontario law as a “middle ground” between an independent contractor and an employee. Dependent contractors are not employees and resemble independent contractors. However, they work primarily for, and earn at least 50% of their income from, a single work provider. Because dependent contractors are said to be economically dependent on that one employer, common law reasonable notice is potentially owed to these types of workers.


A worker hired by an employer to perform services in exchange for salary or hourly wages. An employee is entitled to the minimum employment standards set out in legislation. An employer has full control over how, when, and where an employee performs their work.

Employment Agreement

A contract between an employee and an employer setting out the specific terms and conditions of the employment relationship. An employment agreement is typically in writing and contains details pertaining to the employee’s position, the job requirements, compensation, hours of work, employment benefits, vacation and sick pay entitlements, workplace policies, termination and severance, among other things. Even if the parties contract out of the minimum standards set out in employment legislation, the employer will still be required to meet the legislative standards.


A person or entity that hires an employee and maintains control of, and is responsible for, an employee and their work.

Fixed-Term Employee

An employee engaged by the employer to work for a specified length of time or on a specific project. A fixed-term employment contract is presumed to expire at the end of its stated term without the requirement for the employer to express their intention to terminate it. Fixed-term employees may be referred to as “contract employees”.

Independent Contractor

An independent contractor is a worker hired by a client/employer to provide goods or services on an as-needed basis or for a particular project. The parties generally pre-determine and agree upon the terms and conditions governing the independent contractor’s services, such as payment and ownership of the work product. Independent contractors do not fall under provincial or federal employment laws and are not protected by employment standards legislation.

Independent Contractor Agreement

An independent contractor agreement is a contract between an independent contractor and a client/employer that sets out the specific terms and conditions of the parties’ working relationship. The agreement should avoid any confusion regarding the worker’s classification, method of payment, and the client’s insurance obligations to the independent contractor (if any). Unlike in an employment relationship, the client/employer does not control how or when the contractor’s work is performed.


The services or labour performed by an employee or contractor for the employer’s benefit.