TORONTO — The Ontario Labour Relations Board has ruled couriers working for foodora are, as Foodsters United and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers argued, dependent contractors — which means they have the legal right to organize and certify a union.
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, while providing flexibility for couriers — letting them dictate when they worked and for how long — allowed foodora to avoid certain employer responsibilities and did not entail the right to union certification.
“We’ve 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,” says David Albert, managing director, foodora Canada.
This clears a significant hurdle on the path toward bargaining agent certification. The case has brought app-based working conditions into the spotlight, prompting a call for better regulation and recognition of courier workers’ issues and rights.
“This decision shows 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,” says Jan Simpson, CUPW national president.