Who is the Employer: the Frachisor or the Franchisee?

In Canada right now, there are over 76,000 franchises from about 1200 companies. Approximately 45% of all retail sales are generated by a franchised business. (Source: http://www.frnachise101.net)

A franchise, according to Franchise Direct Canada) is where a business owner (franchisor) grants to investors (franchisee) the right to operate a business in the manner and style the company has already developed.

As a franchisee, investing in an established business, have you reviewed and understood the requirements surrounding health and safety? In other words, does your franchise agreement identify who will manage your safety program?

There are some franchises where the parent company will conduct regular inspections and even control some aspects of the business. Depending on what this all includes will determine who really is the employer from a health and safety perspective.

There are some questions you need to ask when reviewing the franchise agreement. This will help determine who then is the employer.

  • Who will be reviewing and signing the safety policy on an annual basis?
  • Will there be any resources available for managing workplace injuries and investigations?
  • Will there be any resources available following a list of orders from the Ministry of Labour?
  • Who will be disciplining employees when they don’t follow the safety policies?
  • Who will be training and orientating new employees on the safety policies?

Over the last two years, the franchisor may have been providing additional guidance and information while managing the business during the pandemic. But outside of that, what, if any, support are they offering?

The general duty clause of taking all precautions reasonable in the circumstances to protect the worker applies to the employer. You just need to be clear as to who the employer is: the franchisor or the franchisee.

Do not be afraid to consult a safety professional, like Spencer Safety Solutions, to review your safety program to ensure you are meeting the requirements as an employer under the Occupational Health & Safety Act.


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