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I have a part time side job that I've been doing for a number of years. I found it through a social media group. Since being added to their roster I have been getting regular frequent work (a few shifts each month). Payment is made into my bank account through a 3rd party system. I don't have any contracts or paperwork and I've never received a T4 or similar forms. I work at different locations, none of which are owned or managed by my employer.

My manager recently informed me that she's been promoted and someone else will be managing me. It feels strange that she is my only point of contact. I asked her for the address of the company's office and she said there isn't one in this province. (I know where the company's headquarters are, because they show up on Google.) Also sometimes when my manager isn't working there is some sort of substitute contact, so the company seems reasonably well structured.

All I know about my employer is

  1. The company's name
  2. My manager's name, email and phone number

What else should I know about an employer? I guess my concern is if something happens to my manager or they are acting unreasonably, I would like another point of contact within the company. How should I request this?

In response to the comments, I am paying tax. I don't know what I said that made it sound like I'm trying to avoid it? My manager said that when I was hired I was considered a contractor. I suspect if I challenge it, I could prove that I'm an employee as I don't submit invoices or set my work hours etc. The company doesn't take tax off my pay off but I still declare it as income so I pay tax.

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5 Answers 5

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From your comments, this does not sound like an employer. Did you give them your SIN? Do they give you exactly the amount of money agreed on (eg 5 hours at $15 an hour, $75) or do they take some deductions (EI, CPP, income tax) off? If they take deductions do you get a pay slip that explains what was sent in on your behalf? That will have all kinds of contact info on it.

No pay slip, no deductions? You're working under the table. It's quite common to have inadequate contact information in that case. Your manager is handing you off to someone else, and that's probably the only contact you'll ever get. You can ask "hey, is there like a backup contact in case I ever can't reach this new person?" but don't be surprised if there isn't. When companies aren't following the rules around employing people, they don't want everyone and anyone knowing all about it.

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    to the OP? Given they are probably making very little, they would end up ahead with credits and such. To the employer? Perhaps an audit and a great deal of trouble. If they have only a few under the table folks and can easily guess who reported them, that would probably be the end of this "job". OP didn't ask about any of that, though. Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 15:04
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    First, reporting income to the CRA never triggers any consequences for what you are doing. Like you are literally supposed to report your drug dealing, prostitution, etc income and they won't tell on you to the cops. Second, I don't know what kind of mysterious trouble you think someone could get in handing out leaflets, demoing product, dancing at parties, etc, but whatever it is, getting a T4 won't get you out of it. You could maybe argue that the company should be getting licenses for its staff and isn't, but given how few "occasional shift" jobs require licenses/permits, I doubt it. Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 16:40
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    @RickHenderson That might bring OP's job to an untimely end if the current setup is actually just that OP's "manager" outsourced a task this way without the company knowing. Everything in OP's description sounds like this is very likely the case (minimal contact info, zero paperwork or formal interaction with the company, manager not even telling OP the address of the HQ, payment through a "3rd party system", hired through social media).
    – TooTea
    Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 19:50
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    @stipulateplonk Contractors have contracts. You don't appear (from what you've said) to have such a thing. There's no formal arrangement (which is what a contract is). When they send you work, do you even have a statement from them as to what you will be paid for that work ? Is payment dependent on the result ? What if it's impossible to fix but you spend a lot of time on it ? Or who pays materials costs ? Transport ? Who would be legally responsible for problems with your work ? You or them or the customer ? I don't think you understand how risky your position is in this regard. Commented Apr 18, 2023 at 12:17
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    @stipulateplonkif you're a contractor, then a key part of the contract is stating who are the parties to the contract, the legal entity which is contracting you should be clearly identified in the contract.
    – Peteris
    Commented Apr 18, 2023 at 17:40
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What else should I know about an employer?

You should know enough about your employer to determine whether the arrangement is legal or illegal.

In almost all cases that would be at least a tax identification number. I think that's called BN (Business Number) in Canada. Unless there is a specific law or provision that exempts your employer and yourself from reporting the payments, not doing so is a nontrivial crime and can get you in serious trouble.

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    it can get an employer in serious trouble. Not the employee. Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 16:01
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    This seems like a non-answer. I haven't known enough about any of my employers to be fully confident in that they are doing all taxes and reporting legally - I have trusted them based on reputation only. Tax identification number doesn't prove much.
    – jpa
    Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 17:12
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    @jpa No employee is expected to know everything regarding their employer's legal information to know for a fact if they are doing everything properly. That said, you should know enough to have a reasonable expectation that they are legit, and the shadier the arrangement, the more you ought to learn in order to cover your own behind and, if necessary, get out of there. A well-known reputable company that gave you tax forms upon employment would be a more reassuring situation than if you were working for an individual who hired you over the internet and pays you via Paypal direct deposits.
    – Abion47
    Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 19:24
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All companies in Canada must be registered, and as part of that they must have a mailing address. This is specifically so that they can always be contacted - usually for the serving of legal papers, but for other purposes too.

If you know the full correct name of the company and the province in which they are registered then you can usually find their registration online. If not then ask for that information specifically, and ask for the legal address of the company, even if it's out of province. If they can't give it to you then they are not a real company.

Also whatever contract you signed, or whatever offer letter you received, should give the full name of the company. Usually it has a clause telling you which province will govern the laws of the contract, and that is almost always the province in which the company is registered. If the company has a website that almost always includes the official address of the company under "contact details" or "legal stuff".

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  • Also the registration office has the name of at least one person who can sign official documents on behalf ("per procura") of the company. Tax declarations, work contracts, ...
    – Karl
    Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 22:52
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    This may not help. Companies can employ a registered agent, which is a service that has a physical location, receives mail and legal service, then forwards it on to management. This is true in the US as well.
    – user71659
    Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 23:23
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    In the UK, companies must have a address that they supplied to a government agency (companieshouse), that anyone can look up, and any letter sent to that address counts as legally delivered. If they only have an agent at some other address, or moved to a different location, that's the company's problem. Relative sent a letter to a company, got a phone call from the owner's mom telling him the company owner had moved out, and his lawyer just said "the company has legally received it".
    – gnasher729
    Commented Apr 18, 2023 at 14:42
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    Fun fact - I'm a registered agent for my company. When I moved from Texas to Colorado, the HR person for my company was told that Colorado required a legal presence there. The result was that I was designated as the registered agent. In practice, all this means is that I occasionally get catalogs of office products - I've yet to receive any correspondence from the state. Commented Apr 19, 2023 at 14:37
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The important thing is that you are obligated to report your income to the CRA on your tax forms even if you don't get a T4 or a T4A (which is what you should be getting for gig work).

It's been a long while since I did taxes in Canada (and I never did gig work there), but I'm pretty sure there is a line on the tax form labeled something like "additional income" or "other income" (or "misc income" or...). Add up all that you received, put it there. Keep a copy of all your paystubs (or equivalent) with your tax records. Also keep a record of whatever you know about your employer.

The government never complains when you report income they didn't know about (though, the presence of information on that line may provoke an audit). If you have good records, you are safe. The company, on the other hand, will have to answer for their lack of record-keeping.

US-only anecdote. I won a new car once. I asked the dealer "where's the tax paperwork?" He laughed and said "oh, you don't need that" (you could almost hear a Python-esque "nudge-nudge, wink-wink"). I talked with a tax guy and apparently the right way to handle this was to value the car at its "used car value" at the time it was driven off the lot and consider it income. So, I just put $18k on the additional income line. Never got audited. The car lasted 11 years.

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I'm British not Canadian but I suspect the basic principles are similar.

All registered companies will have a registered address (some small employers may not be registered companies, but they still need an address for practical reasons). That address may not be in your province, it may not be in your country, it may even be a mailbox shop or similar but it should always exist. This address is legally important because if legal paperwork is served on the address the company is deemed to have received it.

Registered companies will also have a company registration number and details of where why are registered. Governments will generally provide a way to look up a registration and see the details.

Employment relationships come with mandatory paperwork. If you have never done or received that paperwork then the chances are the company does not consider you to be an employee.

Not every person who gets paid by a company is an employee. It can be perfectly legitimate for a company to contract for services with a sole trader. On the other hand some companies are known for pushing their luck and treating people as sole traders when they should really be treating them as employees.

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