Contracting for Academic Services

Please note: We will no longer accept a Business Firm Retainer Form or the Request to Purchase Academic Services form and contract.

Independent contractors may be hired to perform a variety of academic services including the development and/or delivery of credit or non-credit courses, seminars and workshops. The following outlines the process for determining the employment relationship and contracting for academic services.

Determination of the Employment Relationship

The determination of whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor depends on the nature of the relationship established with the university. This determination should be made before the work has begun as it has significant implications for the university and the worker, including the assessment of taxes, CPP, EI, Worksafe coverage, labour standards, liability and ownership of intellectual property. It is therefore very important that the correct determination be made.

If a worker who is determined to have an employment relationship with the university is paid as an independent contractor without statutory deductions then the university and the worker are both at risk of re-assessment by Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Any assessment costs will be passed on to the department hiring the worker.

The following documents have been developed to aid decision making and to provide clarity on processes:

The Services Agreement forms are only to be used when the individual providing the service is determined to be an independent contractor, not an employee.

An employee cannot also be a contractor concurrently. If the individual is currently an employee of the university, they must be paid using a payroll form. These forms can be found on the Accounting Services website.

Determining a workers correct status can be complex. If you are still uncertain after reviewing the above documents, please contact for questions related to Academic Services, or if you need assistance in determining the appropriate payroll form to use.

Insurance Requirements

The terms of the Service Agreements require ALL independent contractors to possess their own Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance as well as Workers Compensation insurance (e.g. WorkSafeBC) before providing services to the University.

Contractors requiring workers compensation coverage may register on the WorksafeBC website. If a contractor applies for workers compensation coverage and WorkSafeBC declines the application they may still be hired as an independent contractor, as long as they are able to provide evidence that their application was declined.

Submitting Academic Service Agreements for Approval

If the individual providing the academic service is has been determined to be an independent contractor, the Service Agreement for Academic Services must be filled out and submitted to the Office of the Vice-President Academic and Provost for approval. The following documentation must be included with the Service Agreement for Academic Services:

Services Agreements may be submitted in hard copy to the VPAC office to the attention of the Administrative Assistant to the Associate Vice-President Faculty Relations and Academic Administration, or they may be routed for internal approvals using the university’s electronic WebReq system. In either case, as signing authority for university contracts rests with the Vice-President Academic and Provost, academic services agreements are to be completed and forwarded with the university signature block left blank to allow either VPAC to officially execute the contracts. Once the agreement has been approved by VPAC, it will be sent back to the originating department. If the agreement was submitted using the WebReq system, the final approved version will be attached to the WebReq.