The Supreme Court of Canada has paved the way for Uber drivers to take the next step in their fight to be recognized as employees. In a decision released today, the High Court affirmed a decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal that opened the door to a class action to guarantee minimum wages, vacation pay and other benefits to drivers.
The man behind the planned class action, David Heller, is an Ontario driver for UberEats, a service that delivers food from restaurants to customers at home.
He claims that Uber drivers are employees, which entitles them to protection under the Ontario Employment Standards Act.
Ontario’s highest court has said that a clause in the Uber service agreement that requires all disputes to go to arbitration in the Netherlands amounts to illegal outsourcing of a standard employment.
Heller earns about $ 400 to $ 600 per week before paying taxes and expenses, using his own vehicle and working 40 to 50 hours per week, which represents income between $ 21,000 and $ 31,000 per year .
He says it equals $ 10 to $ 12 an hour, while the minimum wage in Ontario is $ 14 an hour.
In its ruling, the Supreme Court declared that the arbitration agreement was not valid, noting that someone in Heller’s position could not expect to appreciate the financial and legal implications of the arbitration clause.
“We agree with the Court of Appeal. This is an arbitration agreement that makes it impossible to arbitrate a party, “said seven of the High Court judges.
Another judge who sided with Heller went even further, saying that the arbitration agreement with Uber effectively prevented him from having access to a legally determined dispute settlement, placing undue hardship on Heller and undermining Right wing state.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on June 26, 2020.