A contract between you and your attendants is a vital document. It is an agreement between the employer (called a Self-Manager on the Direct Funding Program) and the employee (attendant) which sets out the attendant’s employment rights, responsibilities and duties; it also specifies what the employer’s expectations are of his/her employee. When the attendants know exactly what is expected from them, they will be better prepared to do their job well.
Do not be misguided to think that if there is no contract, an employer can do whatever they want with their employees. Not having a contract with your attendant can be a nightmare if the working relationship goes wrong.
Attendants come into our homes and into our lives and are sometimes exposed to things about us that are very personal. Consider adding to the confidentiality clause to stipulate that the clause continues even after employment ends.
An employment contract should also state the behaviour expected of attendants in the workplace and what the consequences are should they fail to comply.
As uncomfortable as it may feel to discuss termination clauses during the hiring process, Self-Managers will be glad they did if and when it comes time to dismiss an attendant.
If you have already signed a contract with your attendant, and you wish to change something or add something to the existing contract, you both must agree to the change. For example: when the new Family Day statutory holiday was introduced, you would want to include this in the contract. This is an additional benefit that did not exist in the previous contract and is acceptable. On the other hand, if you are adding something that may not necessarily be considered a benefit to the employee, consider what you might offer them that they didn’t have before.
The Centre for Independent Living Toronto (CILT) employed the services of a lawyer to help develop a contract for Self-Managers to use and a copy was provided to you when you began on the program (see Schedule E of your agreement). A lot of time and energy went into developing this contract so do take advantage of it. You can add to the contract if you like but be careful: if a clause contravenes any employment laws, it will not be enforceable.
A shorter and much less detailed employment agreement is also attached for your review.
One last bit of advice: sign the contract with your attendant before he/she starts working for you. Give the attendant some time (one or two weeks) to review the contract which allows them an opportunity to seek out legal advice if they choose.
Avoid conflict, confusion and misunderstandings: sign a contract with each and every attendant. If you don’t have a copy of the contract the Direct Funding Program originally provided to you, you may download the sample below or contact us for a copy.
The Direct Funding Program is being expanded to allow more Ontarians with disabilities to live independently in their homes.
You can read more about this in our News Release.