Foodora couriers in Toronto are voting on union certification. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Foodora union vote ends today but fate could rest on if couriers are employees

TORONTO — Foodora couriers in Toronto will end voting later today on union certification to create Canada’s first unionized workforce in the gig economy.

The company, which operates the food delivery service in seven Canadian cities, has objected to a Canadian Union of Postal Workers’ application for certification under a section of the Ontario Labour Relations Act.

The union filed its application last week with the Ontario Labour Relations Board, months after a campaign was launched that addressed working conditions.

Foodora objected to the board because it contends the couriers are independent contractors rather than employees.

A determination of this key point of disagreement could be required before there is any consideration of the vote that started last week.

The union says couriers intend to negotiate a better compensation model, as well as health and safety protections for when workers are injured and recognition of basic workers’ rights.

Foodora’s workers are paid $4.50 per order plus $1 per kilometre between the restaurant and delivery address, while restaurants pay the company up to about 30 per cent of the order total.

The postal workers union says it filed an unfair labour practice complaint with the labour board over what it claims are Foodora Canada’s spreading of misinformation to scare couriers to vote against certification.

It says Foodora has attacked the union drive by threatening the income of couriers through emails and directly messaging them on the app.

Foodora spokeswoman Sadie Weinstein says the company has and will continue to act in “good faith” and in accordance with Ontario’s labour laws.

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