Fred Lewis Posted May 3, 2013 Report Share Posted May 3, 2013 The Helicopter Association of Canada appears to be preparing templates for two contracts that will impact pilots. They are a contract to bind pilots to a training bond and a contract to cast the relationship between contract pilots and operators in such a way that contract pilots are considered to be contractors and not employees. There is nothing wrong with contracts provided both parties completely understand precisely how contracts bind them. Any party planning to sign a contract is well-advised to obtain legal advice to ensure they are not entering into an unintended relationship. Both Labour Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency have guidelines to determine if a worker is a contractor or an employee. Except in rare cases, it does not appear that pilots can qualify as contractors. It is advantageous for a pilot to be considered an employee: Employment insurance can be collected if and when an employee is laid off; Employees are not liable for damages in the same way contractors are; Payroll deductions are made at source; Employees have no incorporation expense; Accounting expenses can be considerable for a corporation; Corporations have reporting obligations which can be time consuming; Some tax deductions that are available to a contract pilot are also available to an employee pilot; In any event, it is not possible for any party to contract out of its legal obligations. The Canada Labour Code at section 168.(1) is specific about this. In fact, if the CLC is not complied with, any parts of a contract that are in breach will probably be nullified and perhaps the whole contract will be considered void. Apparently, some helicopter workers have complained to Labour Canada with a view to recovering unpaid wages due to overtime worked and work done on general holidays. Suppose a pilot contracts for a wage of $400 a day. Labour Canada will almost certainly consider that the wage is for an 8 hour day and therefore that the hourly wage is $50 an hour. Labour Canada again will almost certainly conclude that when a worker is under the direction and control of an employer, he is at work. If a pilot is in a camp and his employer has directed him to be ready to fly at any time during a 14 hour day, those 6 hours in excess of the standard 8 hour day may well be considered overtime. If such is the case, the employer owes the pilot time and a half for those 6 hours at $50 an hour or an additional $450 a day. If a pilot was to work 42 consecutive 14 hour days under such an arrangement, he could well be owed $18,900. If a pilot stands a 14 hour day on a general holiday, of which there are 9 defined by the CLC, then he is entitled to time and a half in addition to his regular pay. That’s 21 hours at $50 an hour or $1,050 in addition to the $400. The employer will probably argue that the $400 a day is an all inclusive wage such that it includes pay for overtime and general holidays. This argument has been tested on appeal and it failed. Two cases of interest are Pe-Ben Oilfield Services (2006) Ltd. v. Kellerman and Quality Travel Inc. v. Labo. A helicopter pilot can enter into an all-inclusive contract if he wants but the daily rate should be well over $1000 a day. If an operator has written contracts with several pilots there will almost certainly be differences in these contracts regarding wages. In some cases these differences will be sensible, if, for instance, the differences in wages are based on experience. However, one pilot whose experience is equal to another’s may strike a better deal. This will lead to bad blood. This is one of the main reasons employees engaged in collective bargaining. There is a far greater chance that all involved get a fair shake. As previously mentioned, written contracts can be a good thing, just be very careful you know into what you are getting if you sign one. The ordinary man is the most important part of society. Those who seem to think that businesses are the life blood of everything in capitalistic societies are wrong. Ordinary women and men will always be able to exist without business, but business cannot exist without ordinary women and men. 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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