Employment Law

Suncor cutting 20% of contractor workforce following ‘thorough review’


In an effort to improve the safety and performance of its oilsands operations, Suncor Energy is parting ways with a significant number of contractors.

The Canadian integrated energy company announced that it is reducing the size of its contractor workforce by 20 per cent. Suncor didn’t disclose how many contractors in Canada will be impacted by the reduction.

During a conference call with analysts on Nov. 3, Interim CEO Kris Smith said the company is on track to complete the cuts by the first half of 2023.

Smith added that the decision to reduce the number of contractors was the result of a “thorough review of the make-up of our front-line workforce.”

“My priority has been to remove distraction from the organization and to focus our employees on safe, reliable operations in our biggest opportunities.”

Focus on the “core business”

The cuts are taking place as Suncor streamlines its portfolio to focus on its “core business.”

In October, the company announced that it had reached a deal to sell its wind and solar assets to Canadian Utilities Limited for $730 million.

According to Suncor’s website, the oilsands giant employs a global workforce of approximately 30,000 people.

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Should I be classified as a contractor at Suncor Energy?

If you were hired by Suncor as an independent contractor, there is a significant chance that you should actually be considered an employee.

Employers in Canada may misclassify employees as contractors to avoid acknowledging certain employment rights, including:

Companies can’t avoid the issue by having you sign an employment contract, which indicates you are a contractor rather than an employee.

Canada’s legal system provides guidelines for determining whether an individual is a contractor or employee.

To find out what you are, use Samfiru Tumarkin LLP’s Pocket Employment Lawyer tool or contact an experienced employment lawyer.

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What happens if Suncor ends my fixed-term contract?

If you are on a fixed-term contract with Suncor, and your contract is cancelled before the agreed-upon end date, the company owes you the remaining balance of the agreement.

  • Example: You signed a 12-month fixed-term contract with Suncor that pays a total of $50,000. If the company cancels your employment six months into the contract, you are owed the remaining six-month balance of $25,000.

Termination agreements for Suncor employees

In Canada, non-unionized employees and senior executives at Suncor are owed full severance pay when they lose their jobs due to downsizing, corporate restructuring, or the business closes. This includes people who are incorrectly identified as contractors.

Severance can be as much as 24 months’ pay, depending on a number of factors.

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WATCH: Employment lawyer Lior Samfiru explains why you are still owed severance if you have been downsized on an episode of the Employment Law Show.

Before you accept any severance offer, have an experienced employment lawyer at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP review it and your employment contract.

We can tell you if what you have been provided is fair and how to get proper severance if it falls short of what you are actually owed.

If you don’t receive the full amount, which happens often, you have been wrongfully dismissed and are entitled to compensation.

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