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Queen's University

How to Pay Independent Contractors

In recent years at Queen's, there has been a shift away from the traditional employer-employee relationship in favour of contracting for certain non-core services from independent contractors (i.e. services that are not directly related to teaching or research).

When departments or PI's enter into agreements with individuals who are acting independently, it is very important that the nature of this relationship be documented.

An important reason to document the relationship is to ensure that the University complies with the Income Tax Act. This act stipulates that if an employer-employee relationship exists, then source deductions (such as CPP, EI, and income tax) and employer paid amounts (such as EHT and WCB) be calculated, deducted, reported, and paid. Penalties of at least 25% of the payment could be incurred if Queen's does not make the appropriate deductions.

The documentation should include at a minimum:

  • description of services rendered
  • how payment will be calculated
  • where work will be done
  • when work will be done
  • who will direct the work

Payments to staff members (irrespective of the department where those duties are performed) to compensate for the performance of duties should never be treated as eligible for Independent Contractor treatment (i.e. payments to a secretary who normally works for department X that performs typing services for department Y should always be processed using the payroll system by department Y).

When the work has been completed, the independent contractor should issue an invoice. The invoice should include the following information:

  • Invoice Date
  • Invoice Number
  • Name and address of Independent Contractor
  • Description of work
  • Invoice Amount

In cases where it is clear that no employee-employer relationship exists, use the FIN-FRM-003 - Cheque Requisition form to initiate the payment. Attach the invoice supplied by the contractor.

For employment that will require an employee to receive a T4, they should contact Human Resources directly.

Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000