Supreme Court ruling a major victory for gig-economy workers

It paves a way for granting these workers the employment benefits and the respect they deserve.

Ottawa (30 June 2020) ― On June 26, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Uber’s labour dispute process is invalid. NUPGE welcomes the decision, which opens the door to drivers with the ride-hailing company being recognized as employees.

Supreme Court upholds Ontario Court of Appeal decision

The case began in 2017, when David Heller, a driver for the UberEats food delivery service, attempted to launch a class-action lawsuit seeking a minimum wage, vacation pay, and other benefits. As NUPGE has previously reported, under their contracts, Uber drivers are classified as independent contractors, not employees. This means that they do not have access to the benefits and protections that are afforded to all employees under Ontario’s Employment Standards Act.

Heller’s proposed lawsuit was blocked by a clause in Uber’s legal terms that requires all labour disputes to go through mediation in the Netherlands. The Ontario Court of Appeal deemed the clause illegal because it outsources an employment standard. Uber challenged this ruling before the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Supreme Court upheld the lower court decision, ruling that drivers can have labour issues resolved through Ontario courts, as reported by CBC News. The decision opens the door to Heller’s lawsuit and the possibility that Uber drivers will be considered employees under the Employment Standards Act.

Uber drivers deserve the same respect as other workers

The Supreme Court ruling represents an important victory not just for Uber drivers but for all gig-economy workers. It paves a way for granting these workers the employment benefits and the respect they deserve.

NUPGE stands in solidarity with precarious and gig-economy workers who are organizing for the same rights and protections granted to other workers.

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE