Employment & Labour

Ride-sharing lawsuit will be closely watched: Karimjee

By Tony Poland, Associate Editor

The class-action lawsuit against a ride-sharing giant that demands employee rights for its drivers in Ontario will be closely watched in other jurisdictions, employment lawyer Kumail Karimjee tells CTV.

The lawsuit is seeking to have drivers classified as employees as opposed to contractors so that they can receive such benefits as minimum wage and overtime.

Karimjee, principal of Karimjee Law, tells CTV the court will look at a “number of factors” before making its ruling.

“It is really a question of whether or not the driver … is in a business of their own or a part of the company’s business,” he tells the news agency. “The factors include whether there is a risk of profit or loss, who owns the tools and who has control over the work.”

The issue will be “watched closely” in Canada and other countries served by the ride-sharing company, Karimjee says.

“There are a number of cases … in different jurisdictions in the U.S. as well as the U.K., and while a case in Ontario would not be determinative on other jurisdictions, I think it will be of interest in those places.”

Karimjee tells CTV that lawsuits such as this illustrate the need for labour law reform.

“Our labour and employment laws were designed for a different era, for a different economy,” he says. “I think jurisdictions like Ontario and others around the world are looking at how to catch our laws up with this new reality.”

He tells CTV changes are needed to close the gap and “ensure that workers have the protections that they should have when working under a new model.”

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