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Who is and is Not Covered Under Saskatchewan's Employment Standards

Part II of The Saskatchewan Employment Act (the Act) applies to most employees and employers in the province. The Act defines who is an employee and employer.

An employee is a person whom an employer permits, directly or indirectly, to perform work or services who receives or is entitled to wages (including those being trained or on employment leave).

An employer is a person who has control and direction of one or more employees and is largely responsible for wages for those employees.

Saskatchewan's employment standards do not apply to some employers and employees. These include, but are not limited to:

  • athletes while participating in their athletic endeavour;
  • federally regulated businesses and industries;
  • family businesses that employ only the employer's immediate family members;
  • self-employed individuals (e.g. independent contractors);
  • sitters; and
  • student learners (the Act does apply to interns).

The Act does apply to unionized employers and employees, so collective agreements can not offer less than the legislation. Unionized employees have access to their grievance process to protect their rights, therefore Employment Standards will direct unionized employees to their union to resolve issues.

Employers under Federal Jurisdiction

Employers in the following business sectors or industries are likely operating under federal jurisdiction and would follow the Canada Labour Code:

  • Banks
  • Air transportation, including airports and airlines
  • Telephone, telegraphs and cable systems
  • Grain elevators and seed mills
  • Uranium mining and processing
  • First Nation government activities (However, some First Nations-owned employers follow Saskatchewan's employment standards.)
  • Inter-provincial and international trucking/transportation

Family Businesses Employing Only Immediate Family Members

Family businesses employing only the employer's immediate family members are exempted from employment standards. The term "employer's immediate family" is defined as:

i. a spouse of the employer or a person with whom the employer cohabits and has cohabited as a spouse in a relationship of some permanence;

ii. a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister of the employer; or

iii. a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister of the spouse of the employer or of a person mentioned in subclause (i) with whom the employer cohabits.


An employer hires their spouse and sister to work in the business. As these two employees are members of the employer's immediate family, the business is exempt from employment standards.

The employer then hires a third-cousin. The new employee is not part of the employer's immediate family, so all employees, including those in the employer's immediate family, are now covered by employment standards.

Independent Contractors

Independent contractors are often individuals in business for themselves. When this type of contractor has no employees, they are neither employers nor employees – they are self-employed. As a result, Saskatchewan employment standards do not apply.

If an employer contracts with a self-employed individual and treats that person as an employee, what was once a business-to-business contract can transform into an employment relationship and employment standards would apply.

Independent Contractor versus Employee

The more control an employer has over an independent contractor's work, the more likely an employer-employee relationship exists. For example, if in dealing with another business a contractor:

  • is assigned work, and is told when, where and how this work is done;
  • is supplied materials, tools, and equipment to perform the work; or
  • is otherwise integrated into the other business,

then there is a good chance that the contractor is no longer in business for themselves and is an employee.

Independent Contractors

In contrast, independent contractors:

  • are in business for themselves;
  • negotiate business to business contracts for how, when and where their work is performed;
  • can contract work with multiple clients (other customers);
  • provide their own tools, supplies and equipment; and
  • risk their own capital, taking profits and losses.

Child care providers (where a parent brings a child to the home of the provider for care for a fee) are considered independent contractors. Therefore, employment standards don't apply to child care providers.


Employment standards do not apply to sitters.

A sitter includes the traditional 'sitter' who comes into a private home occasionally to provide care and supervision to children (or anyone incapable of independent living) while parents or other custodians run errands, go shopping or have an evening out. 'Sitter' also refers to a worker who relieves a proprietor of an "approved home" for a period of not more than 21 days in a year and whose wages are subsidized.

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