Social Justice and Democracy

Canada’s unions welcome certification of Uber class action

August 12, 2021

The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) welcomes today’s decision from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in favour of Uber drivers seeking legal recognition of their status as drivers.

Uber drivers successfully petitioned the court to certify a class action on behalf of all Uber drivers and delivery workers who submit they are employees misclassified as independent contractors.

“All workers should have workplace protections and benefits. Canada’s unions support the decision to certify this class action and invite Uber drivers from coast-to-coast to unionize and collectively bargain their rights,” said Bea Bruske, President of the CLC. “For too long, Uber has dictated terms of workers’ employment but hasn’t been accountable for providing basic employment standards like a minimum wage and vacation pay.”

In June of last year, an 8-1 decision of the Supreme Court of Canada found that Uber’s private arbitration clause in its contract with drivers is unfair, unconscionable and invalid. The company required Ontario drivers raising a dispute with the company to go to court in the Netherlands and pay legal and other fees amounting to most of their annual income.

“Courts cannot continue to be the main avenue through which workers demand their rights. It is too costly and time consuming, and companies like Uber have very deep pockets to drag out any legal challenge,” said Bruske.

“Governments must act to address the blatant misclassification of workers contained in gig economy employers’ business models. The competitiveness, growth strategy and business model of companies like Uber is built on denying workers their statutory and collective bargaining rights. Governments must step up and rectify the massive power imbalance between digital platform giants and low-paid gig workers,” Bruske added.

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