Workers have the right to a healthy and safe workplace. Requirements are laid out in workplace health and safety laws, which vary depending on your province and jurisdiction. Generally, workers in Canada have the right to know about workplace hazards and the right to participate in decisions that affect their health and safety at work.
Unionized work sites generally have health and safety requirements that are greater than the minimum legislation. If you need more information about joining a union and/or health and safety regulations in your own province or territory, be sure to get in touch.
Many companies will misclassify employees as independent contractors in order to avoid basic employment and labour standards. This is a good deal for the company because it can ignore rules such as maximum hours of work, overtime, vacation pay, holidays, and termination or severance pay. Employers also skip contributing their share of Employment Insurance (EI), Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Workers Compensation premiums.
The real tests to figure out whether you're an employee involve an analysis of whether the company controls your work, who owns the tools and equipment for the work and whether the worker has the chance of profit or risk of loss as a result of his or her job. CUPW has brought the cases of many "independent contractors" to labour boards and tribunals. In most cases, the workers were recognized as employees or dependent contractors. We can help you determine whether you're an employee in disguise. Contact us for more information.
There's definitely something you can do. All thirteen jurisdictions in the country have some type of equal pay requirements in human rights legislation, employment standards legislation, and/or pay equity legislation. We can help you evaluate your options. Call us if you think women who are doing similar work in your workplace are getting paid less than men.
Unions are also a great way to reduce the difference between what men and women get paid. Women earn 94% as much as their male counterparts in unionized jobs. The figure for women in non-union work is a measly 79%.