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Distinction between a worker and a self-employed worker

The CNESST uses certain criteria and conditions to determine the status of a natural person (worker, self-employed worker or self-employed person who is considered to be a worker).

If you have difficulty determining a natural person's status, call us at 1 844 838-0808 and we will help you determine their status.

Important

Even if a person is recognized as a self-employed worker by a ministry or other public body, they may be considered a worker by the CNESST under the Loi sur les accidents du travail et les maladies professionnelles (LATMP).

Employment contract or contract for services

The CNESST must first determine whether the natural person has the status of a worker or a self-employed worker. A worker is bound to their employer by an employment contract. As for the self-employed worker, he carries on a professional activity on their own account. The working relationship with their client is based on a contract for services.

Employment contract or contract for services

In order to determine whether a natural person and their client are bound by an employment contract or a contract for services, the CNESST examines the following criteria:

  • remuneration
  • the relationship of subordination
  • ownership of tools and equipment
  • the opportunity for profit and the financial risk
  • integration into the company

If the CNESST concludes that there is a contract for services, it then assesses whether the self-employed worker should be considered a worker (article 9 - Loi sur les accidents du travail et les maladies professionnelles).

Self-employed person who is considered a worker 

A self-employed person is considered a worker by the CNESST if they do not have any employees and if they carry out an activity that is similar or related to that of the client. Similar or related activities relate to the administration of an company, its activities of producing or distributing a good or the provision of the services it offers. However, they are not considered a worker by the CNESST if one of the following exceptions applies, that is, if they carry on their activities:

  • simultaneously for several people (e.g., a delivery person who transports packages from multiple contractors at the same time)
  • in the context of an exchange of services with another self-employed worker
  • for several people in turn for short-term work for which they provide the necessary equipment (fewer than 420 hours annually)
  • sporadically required by the contractor

A self-employed worker who has employees has the status of employer.

Paid passenger transportation by automobile

Since October 10, 2020, the automobile passenger transportation industry has no longer been governed by the Loi concernant les services de transport par taxi but by the Loi concernant le transport rémunéré de personnes par automobile.

This legislative change may change the status of drivers engaged in paid passenger transportation by automobile.

You may become the employer of people who were not previously considered your workers. This means you will have to report their wages and make periodic payments to pay an annual contribution to the CNESST.

It is also possible that your company is no longer subject to the Loi sur les accidents du travail et les maladies professionnelles and that your file with the CNESST must be closed.

Call us to find out if any changes apply to your company or if your company has to be registered with the CNESST.

Amounts to be entered in the Statement of Wages

Remuneration for these people is reported as follows:

  • Worker: on line 4, or on line 1 if their wages appear in box A of Revenu Québec’s Relevé 1 slip
  • Self-employed worker: you do not have to report their remuneration
  • Self-employed worker who is considered a worker: on line 2
     

Laws and regulations

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