Bakers Journal

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Foodora’s contractor classification changed


February 25, 2020
By Bakers Journal


Topics
Logo courtesy of foodora

For bakeries or lunch counters contemplating using the contractor-driven app Foodora, take note: The classification has changed.

The Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) published its decision on the worker status of foodora couriers to be recognized as dependent contractors, contrary to their previous classification as independent contractors. This means that the food couriers have the legal right to organize and certify a union.

Jan Simpson, CUPW National President, said in a press release: “this decision shows that the tide is turning towards justice for thousands of gig workers in Ontario and soon these workers will have the right to their union. CUPW is proud to be part of challenging the big app-based employers, and reshaping the future of work in favour of workers’ rights, safety, and respect.”

When foodora acquired Hurrier in 2015, it absorbed an existing business that worked alongside independent contractors who executed food deliveries on behalf of the company. This model provided flexibility for couriers, allowing them to dictate when they worked and for how long, to accept or decline orders, to choose when to take time off, to use their own equipment and to provide their services to multiple delivery clients concurrently.

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“We have received the OLRB’s decision – we’re reviewing it and assessing how we’ll move forward with the couriers in Toronto and Mississauga. We respect the Board’s process under the Labour Relations Act,” said David Albert, managing director, foodora Canada in a press release. “We’re continuing to focus on foodora’s growth, and to operate in the best interest of our three key stakeholders: customers, vendor partners and couriers. Until the voter list is confirmed, and the unionization application votes are counted, we cannot speculate at this time as to whether the vote will sway in favour of CUPW and what this might mean for our business moving forward. Right now, it’s business as usual.”

The company will continue to act in good faith and consider how to move forward in a mutually agreeable way to provide the best possible experience for all.

This clears a significant hurdle on the path toward bargaining agent certification. The case has been keenly watched by many gig workers and unions, bringing app-based working conditions into the spotlight, and prompting many calls for better regulation and recognition of the workers’ issues and their rights.