General discussion



By Oz_Media ·
It seem to me that many US companies are under the impression that it is okay to hire 'from home' employees based solely on commission without the need to pay the Provincial minimum wage.

MORE than once I have run into the same scenario in the last few years.

A a result of telecom deregulation in 1986, NAFTA and the dotdom race, MANY US companies started looking to Canada for revenue streams.

These companies mainly prefer to remain in the US and simply hire contracted sales reps to work from home in Canada until it is seen as a profitable enough market to open a physical location and staff it. A quick money grab if you will.

A recent experience came when a guy building a US based business in Alberta offered to let me build Vancouver's operation, hire agents, manage them etc.

I then got the impression he wanted them to work from home. He offered to pay me a large commission based on their performance and a large company share. I explained that unless he was looking for me to open a physical location, I would be out nearly 6 grand a month until able to prove they weren't actually working unless I was able to hands-on manage and train staff.

He didn't understand this added cost as he was only paying them commission. IN BC, Labour Employment laws state that you can pay JUST commission IF the commission is greater than minimum wage for hours worked, if not you MUST pay the minimum wage.

There are VERY few exceptions for commissioned or home contracted workers in BC including security salespeople, real estate brokers, who are known as independant workers who are self operated home based businesses.

He then said he wasn't aware of this law and would need to just keep building his business in Alberta, to which I forwarded him the Alberta Employment Standards information stating the exact same thing in Alberta, and across canda province by province, this is CANADA, EMPLOYERS MUST BE FAIR!

So now he is somewhat perplexed as he is now in the hole to pay his exsiting team in Alberta who haven't been working.

In Canada, homebased workers on commission usually have CDAR reporting on their phone bills, which are paid for and managed by the employer. Once a month, the employer can review the bills and determine if he has been scammed and that the person didn't work at all the last month. At this point he can terminate the employee as he has proof of them not working. THEN it starts all over again with a new employee.

Losing thousands each month, does not a successful business make.

Why don't US business owners (in this case a somewhat large and reputable one)actually take tim e to research the laws here? People assume it is like the US but it isn't.

We don't let company's exploit employees here, it just doesn't slide, nor is it the least bit ethical.

If I have a product to sell, I want to work closely with those who are supposed to sell it. If it doesn't sell, I want to know WHY, I want to know WHO sells it and what they do differently than others.

As a former CRTC employee, I have seen many US companies fined right out of business for misrepresentation by telemarketers who were unmanaged.

The old 'gee they switched me and I didn't know' BS, which is simply impossible in Canada and no it hasn't happened to ANYONE here. I have reviewed MANY such accusations and it is actually impossible for a telco to switch your carrier without YOUR first-hand knowledge.

In Canada we don't like people working at home, you can't manage them and yet have to pay them anyway, and it is just not effective, people can lie their way into a sale and leave it as the company's problem when the customer is PO'd.

Does this result in what many agree is better customer service in Canada?
Better company support?

I am sure it has some bearing.

So this guy is gonna payup his employees, and move south again now and try to validate the expense of calling LD to Canada for a marketing effort in order to develop a supposedly Canadian online business directory.

The worst part, there are servers and domains in place, a strong business plan, websites and other Canadian towns jumping on board, how can an established US company possibly try and do al this and invest money without even looking into the legalities of Canadian Employment?

Not too bright I must say!

I feel somewhat sorry for him as he was eager and driven, but looking for something for nothing all the same.

Keep your money and your business in the US unles you wich to play by the rules please, we aren't interested.

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

Thread display: Collapse - | Expand +

All Comments

Collapse -

U.S. Business model

by TheChas In reply to YOU CAN'T PAY CANADIANS S ...


What you have run into is part of the business model of far too many US companies.
It also explains why there is SO much litigation in the US.

Basically, many companies decide that it is much cheaper to ignore laws and rules unless / until someone makes an issue of their not following the law.

An individual worker who brings the issue to the fore is in a tough situation.
A typical company will follow the letter of the law as it refers to not firing a whistle-blower. But, will make the employees work life as miserable as possible in the hope that the employee will buckle under and quit.
While at the same time, the company may decide to not correct the situation, as until a legal case is made of the issue it still costs money to obey the law.

When and if the legal system catches up with the issue, in a bottom line analysis, it is still cheaper to skirt the rules.

The present focus of the Bush administration on limiting lawsuits is not so much an attempt to lower business legal costs as it is to prevent the average individual the ability to force a company to do what is legal and right!

In your specific situation, the executive board of the US company believe they have nothing to loose by not following Canadian law.
I'm sure if you looked over the paperwork for most of these agreements, you would find that the individual who is actually working in Canada is a distinct and separate entity from the US firm. Should a problem crop up, the poor SOB is the one who would pay as the US firm has no physical or legal presence in Canada.

Bottom line, so long as the US based executive board
A: makes money
B: is not personally liable
the laws in Canada (or any other country) do not matter.


Collapse -

HI Chas

by Oz_Media In reply to U.S. Business model

There are company's here that do the same thing. I have a good track record of suing employers as we part ways and I have yet to lose. It has come to a point now where most people around here know me or recognize my last name and wouldn't play the game to begin with.

But for a company to just blindly trying to start a business without any knowledge? And yet they expect to be successful! LOL

I do actually know the company where this guy works and it is a rather large and reputable 33 year old US corporation in Washington and California. This guy was definitely from the states, I spoke with him and you know in about 1.5 seconds when people aren't Canadian.

The guys contract stood up, the company stocks definitely stand up and they are well established in the US, the have just hired some gung ho marketing tool that has no idea what he's doing.

Perhaps I should take HIS job and just deal direct with them in Washington.

Just a wasted my time, laywers time etc. Not very professional, keep it at home please. :)

Collapse -

by Jaqui In reply to YOU CAN'T PAY CANADIANS S ...

hmm, could be fun to take them on.
they contract with someone to work in canada, makes a nice clear case of a business presence in canada.
and under canadian law.

they would lose a legal case, and probably interest in developing a canadian presence.

almost worth it to help break canada from being so heavily influenced by the us economy.

Collapse -

But But But....

by Jessie In reply to

The world NEEDS influence from the US economy. We're what makes all the rest of your economies WORK!!! hehehe!

Collapse -

by Jaqui In reply to But But But....

okay, as long as every us based business will post a security bond of 10 trillion in an outside controlled facility, so when they violate non us regs, or even international trade agreements they can lose the money.

Collapse -

by Jessie In reply to :p

That's so UNFAIR!!! We can't be expected to know all the laws... or put money aside to pay fines... that's like "saving for a rainy day" and we're NOT INTO that!

Collapse -

Yeah it is pretty absurd isn't it?

by Oz_Media In reply to :|

Just made me shake my head, no money lost just a bit of time.

I had seen many similar attempts in the 90's though and they were pretty much weeded out. I just can't believe the company would try to start setting up in 2005 without a clue as to what they were facing here though.

Oh well, it takes all kinds I suppose!

Related Discussions

Related Forums