Jump to content
This Site Uses Cookies. If You Want to Disable Cookies, Please See Your Browser Documentation. ×

Independent Contractors

Recommended Posts

I'm very interested in this legal decision at the Royal Winnipeg


deciding that their dancers are independent contractors rather than employees.

From the article

That means the Royal Winnipeg Ballet does not have to pay an employer's contribution on their employment insurance and Canada Pension. The dancers instead pick up the full cost of those universal benefits.

At the same time, dancers become eligible as contract workers to deduct expenses, including agents' fees, special clothing, shoes and equipment, and physical training costs.

I know that here in the US, it's considered an accomplishment to work under contract, for a company that "employs" its dancers, making that financial commitment. I'm wondering if other Canadian companies will take the chance to re-categorize their dancers, and what affect that might have on those organizations.

Link to comment

This ruling was supported by the dancers and by their union, to revert to the original situation, before a different ruling classified dancers as employees. Since all Canadian citizens, residents, and workers have health insurance, this is less draconian that it would be in the US.

The money saved in income taxes, which are substantial in Canada, on the now-deductable amounts can be transferred to the Pension and employment plan. Whether this is a wash or to the advantage of the dancers isn't discussed. Perhaps some of our Canadian posters know more about the tax impacts?

According to the Canada Pension website contributions to CPP are tax-deductible as well. In 2004, the contribution rate was 9.9%, or twice the individual rate paid by employees (4.95%). That's less than Social Security contributions in the US, and the cap is less than $42,000 in income. There's also a provision for not counting low income years from the pay-out formula, including for taking care of children under 7.

Link to comment

I must say that this

including for taking care of children under 7.

is very appealing to me!

Many thanks for doing the homework here, but I still wonder if there is a difference in esprit in an organization that considers their artists to be employees than one that hires contract labor. I realize that this distinction is more psychological than economic, but it makes me curious nonetheless.

Link to comment

From the article it sounded as if dancers had been contractors until relatively recently, and I doubt they and their union would have supported the initiative to turn the relationship back to contracting if either there is no difference to esprit, or the difference in esprit wasn't worth reverting back. However, I also doubt there is complete consensus on anything economic, and that it is a financial disadvantage to at least a minority, and if there is a difference in esprit, it's likely that there are some dancers who don't think an economic gain was worth it. It will be interesting to see if any of minority views are published.

Link to comment
the Kim Glasco matter several years ago.

Watching that unfold was fascinating -- there seemed to be so many differences in the employment culture than the models I know here in the US. Some of their practices seemed to really support the idea of a ballet company (mostly issues having to do with longevity, which always makes me think of dancers as the repository of history/repertory) and others seemed very arbitrary.

It's an interesting distinction -- in the contemporary dance world most people seem to work with pick-up groups now, dancers who job in for a project and then leave when it's done. To me, it seems to be a marker of artistic longevity -- choreographers who are in it for the long haul seem to have more permanent relationships with their dancers, or at least a core group of them. And in the ballet world, where so many companies market themselves on an annual, seasonal basis, I would think that some form of the employee/long term contract would be very important.

Link to comment
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...