Coathup v. R. - TCC: director at music school was an employee

Coathup v. R. - TCC:  director at music school was an employee

Coathup v. M.N.R. (April 6, 2017 – 2017 TCC 54, Favreau J.).

Précis:  The appellant hired Ms. Grace Pham Vanstone to run music programs for students at two locations operated by the appellant.  The sole issue was whether Ms. Vanstone was an employee or an independent contractor.  The Court found that there was no common intention between the appellant and Ms. Vanstone as to her status.  The Court weighed all of the pertinent factors from the jurisprudence and concluded that Ms. Vanstone was an employee.  Thus CRA’s decision was confirmed.

Decision:  The Court found that there was no common intention as to Ms. Vanstone’s status:

[44]        There is no other concrete evidence of the appellant’s intention. There is no formal written contract between the appellant and the Worker. A blank unsigned MYC Teacher Contract was filed as evidence but I cannot give any weight to this unsigned document. No invoices were issued by the Worker and the Worker did not advertise her business, nor did she register her business for Goods and Services Tax. She did file her 2014 tax return as a self-employed person because she had not received a T-4 slip on time from the appellant.

[45]        Contrary to the appellant’s testimony, the appellant specifically referred to the relationship with the Worker as being one of employer/employee. In an e‑mail to the Worker dated January 9, 2015 at 11:11 a.m., the appellant made the following statement:

. . . Your failure to even respond to my concerns could easy [sic] be interpreted as being insubordinate to our employer/employee relationship and even appears that you are undermining my existing policies. Neither of these are acceptable and cannot be tolerated. I believe it is fair for me to expect an immediate and sustained correction to these concerns or I will need to be more progressive in my actions to deal with them.

[46]        Based on the foregoing, I conclude that the appellant and the Worker did not show the same intention with respect to their work relationship.

All of the other relevant factors - control, ownership of tools, ability to subcontract work, chance for profit/risk of loss - pointed to an employer/employee relationship.

[61]        All things considered, I conclude that a comparison of the factors in this case applied with the case of Wiebe Door, supports the Worker’s intention to be an employee. The appellant’s intention for the Worker to be an independent contractor is not consistent with the evidence presented at the hearing.

Accordingly CRA’s decision that Ms. Vanstone was an employee was confirmed.