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Self-employed or salaried workers?

How can you determine your status?

Revenu Québec uses six criteria to determine whether a worker is self-employed or salaried:

  • Effective subordination in work;
  • Economic or financial criteria;
  • Ownership of tools;
  • Integration of tasks completed;
  • Specific result of the work;
  • Attitude of parties regarding their business relationship.

To view the definition of each of these criteria, you can consult the pamphlet prepared by Revenu Québec.

In summary, “you are considered to be self-employed if you are free to choose the means of carrying out a contract and no relationship of subordination exists between you and your client” and you are considered an employee if “under a written or verbal contract, you undertake for a limited time to do work for remuneration under the direction or control of an employer.”

Travailleur autonome ou salarié?

What your status means

It is important to make this distinction, as employment status directly influences workers’ rights regarding the Quebec Pension Plan, the Employment Insurance Act and the Income Tax Act. The facts surrounding the work relationship as a whole will determine the employment status. As such, as soon as the status as a self-employed or salaried worker is determined, it is easier to explain the applicable obligations in each case.

Normally, self-employed workers have several clients (clinics, spas, etc.), are free in how to carry out their work and to choose their work conditions. Differences in tax treatment between self-employed and salaried workers concerning salary deductions are summarized in the following table.

Business income earned by self-employed workers while carrying out a profession must be included on their income tax returns each year via forms T2125 (federal) and TP-80 (provincial).

A business’s net income is calculated using the accrual accounting method. This means that regardless of whether income has been received or expenses have been paid, they are recorded when services are rendered or expenses are incurred.

A third status?

According to the Comité sectoriel de la main d’oeuvre des services de soins personnels, there are in reality, three massage therapy employment statuses: entrepreneur self-employed workers, service lessor self-employed workers and salaried workers. For more information, consult the comparison table of employment statuses produced by the Committee.

Travailleur autonome ou salarié? Réseau des massothérapeutes

Clarifications regarding salaried worker compensation

If I go to work but my client does not show up, will I still be compensated?

According to article 58 of the Act Respecting Labour Standards:

“An employee who reports for work at his place of employment at the express demand of his employer or in the regular course of his employment and who works fewer than three consecutive hours…is entitled, to an indemnity equal to three hours’ wages at the prevailing hourly rate.”

For example, in the normal course of his work, an employee usually works six hours per day. Over the course of a given day, the employer decides to have the employee work for two hours instead of his usual six. The employee will be entitled to an indemnity equivalent to three hours of work, i.e., the wages for the two hours worked and an additional hour to equal the minimum three hours required.

This condition does not apply when:

  • A case of force majeure occurs that prevents the employer from giving work to the employee (e.g., fire)
  • The nature of the work or the conditions for carrying it out mean that the employee’s presence has a duration of less than three hours (a school crossing guard, a bus driver, a school monitor or an usher).

This means that when the daily time worked is scheduled for less than three hours, due to the nature of the work or the conditions for carrying it out, employees may not claim the indemnity.

If the employer for whom I work offers a discount to clients, will my compensation be lower?

Under no circumstances in such cases can an employer reduce your salary. He must assume the costs related to promotions.


Neither the Réseau, nor FBL LLP guarantee or assume any responsibility regarding the contents of this document, which is intended for information purposes only and has no legal value. All users must verify information on their own while remaining aware that each case is different.

[1] EI Special Benefits for Self-Employed People: