Dependant Contractors Do Not Get Less Notice Than Employees:

In Leibreich v Farmers of North America ( 2019 BCSC 1074 ) Russell J., having found that the plaintiff during her 14 years of service was first a dependant contractor and then an employee had this to say about the defendants’ argument that as she was a dependant contractor for some of her time the notice period should be automatically reduced:

106. In my view, there is no principled basis to automatically give less notice to a dependent contractor than an employee; rather, the fact that a plaintiff is a dependent contractor can be analysed in relation to the first Bardal factor: the character of the work. While it may be the case that the character of a dependent contractor’s work will be less integral and structurally or organizationally embedded than that of an employee, it is this substantive connection and character of the employment that ought to be the focus of the analysis, and not merely the plaintiff’s formal status or designation.

In Ontario, this has been settled case law since at least 2016, as noted by the trial judge in this quote:

105      Similarly, in Keenan v. Canac Kitchens Ltd., 2016 ONCA 79, the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld a reasonable notice period of 26 months for each of the two dependent contractor plaintiffs with 32 and 25 years of service respectively. There, too, there was no automatic “deduction” due to their dependent contractor status, either at the trial level or on appeal. In fact, the plaintiffs were given two of the highest notice periods ever awarded in Canada up to that point — two months over the general upper limit of 24 months which courts have stated is only to be exceeded in “exceptional circumstances”: see Dawe v. Equitable Life Insurance Company of Canada, 2019 ONCA 512at paras. 31-33, citing Lowndes v. Summit Ford Sales Ltd., [2006] O.J. No. 13 (O.N.C.A.) and Keenan; Ansari v. British Columbia Hydro & Power Authority (1986), 2 B.C.L.R. (2d) 33 (S.C.) at 42, aff’d (1986), 55 B.C.L.R. (2d) xxxiii (note) (C.A.).
Conflict and Proud Father Alert: My son, Matthew Fisher of Lecker & Associates, was counsel for the plaintiff in Keenan v Canac .