Atelier : Know Your Rights! | What are my rights?


Wednesday 17 July 2019, 19h
Notman House (51 Rue Sherbrooke O, Montréal), near the St. Laurent metro

→ → (The following French) ← ←

Want to understand your workplace rights in Québec? Come to our “Know Your Rights” workshop, co-hosted by disabling Montreal, S’ATTAQ and Pixelles.

In this free workshop, we’ll cover the most important workplace rights for contractors, freelancers and employees. There will be a Q&A period following the presentation, so bring your questions about contracts, working conditions, and your rights as a worker! Afterwards, all are welcome to stay, chat, and find out a little more about what we are up to.

The workshop is located at Notman House (51 Sherbrooke St W, Montreal), near Saint-Laurent metro. Unfortunately, the space is not wheelchair-accessible. Please contact us if you have any accessibility needs or concerns.

The meeting location sits on the traditional territory of the Kanien’kehá:ka people. We welcome everyone to the workshop, and are committed to facilitating an anti-oppressive space. This workshop is free.


You want to understand your rights in the workplace in Quebec? Come to our workshop "What are my rights? », presented by GWU Montreal, S’ATTAQ et Pixelles.

During this free workshop, A WORKSHOP FOR EMPLOYEES AND FREELANCE IN THE FIELD OF VIDEO GAME. A question period will follow the presentation, for any question you may have about contracts, A WORKSHOP FOR EMPLOYEES AND FREELANCE IN THE FIELD OF VIDEO GAME! Thereafter, A WORKSHOP FOR EMPLOYEES AND FREELANCE IN THE FIELD OF VIDEO GAME.

The workshop takes place at home Notman House (51 Rue Sherbrooke O, Montréal), near the St. Laurent metro. The workshop will be held in English, but a whisper translation available. This space is unfortunately not wheelchair accessible. Please contact us for any need for accessibility.
This event is held on the traditional territory of the people Kanien'kehá:ka. We invite everyone to this workshop and are committed to creating an anti-oppressive space. This workshop is free.



Montreal weary is the local chapter of Game Workers Unite, an international organization of people dedicated to advocating for workers’ rights in the games industry. Tire is not a Union, but is helping build labour power across the globe. Montréal is notable for the number of game companies it hosts – workers here are a powerful force. Together, we can achieve better working conditions, recognition, and mutual support for all. (, [email protected])

GWU Montreal is the Montreal Chapter of Game Workers Unite, A WORKSHOP FOR EMPLOYEES AND FREELANCE IN THE FIELD OF VIDEO GAME. GWU is not a union, A WORKSHOP FOR EMPLOYEES AND FREELANCE IN THE FIELD OF VIDEO GAME. Montreal is a city notable for the number of companies in the field of video games it hosts - here, we have great power. Together, we can get better working conditions, A WORKSHOP FOR EMPLOYEES AND FREELANCE IN THE FIELD OF VIDEO GAME. (, [email protected])

SATTAQ (Associative Syndicate of Self-Employed Workers of Quebec) is an organization that exists to unite freelancers across diverse fields in order to improve working conditions and further our common interests as a labour class. SATTAQ has come together in its common concerns to form a non-hierarchical democratic labour union with a commitment to mutual aid and social justice. (, [email protected])

SATTAQ (Associative Syndicate of Self-Employed Workers of Quebec) Associative Syndicate of Self-Employed Workers of Quebec. The SATTAQ converge around a common goal to build a democratic union and non-hierarchical, engaged in mutual aid and social justice. (, [email protected])

How the self-employed to organize Montreal

Marianne Garneau, blog Organizing Work, conducted an interview with members of Se ATTAQ. We present a French version of Article.

I recently met with three members of a Montreal union syndicates of self-employed as translators, translators and journalists. Hannah, Selena and Pauline are members If ATTAQ, Associative the Union of Autonomous Quebec, an organization of the IWW Montreal. They described how ial use direct action and solidarity in the fight against theft of wages of Artists-worker and how ial aim to improve working conditions in the self-employment based industries.

What If the ATTAQ ?

Hannah : If ATTAQ is a group of self-employed or contract gather to bring solidarity and direct action. As a worker and self-employed or contract it, we often find ourselves in a very precarious situation. In Quebec, there are many places managed by the government that can help you if you are an employee, but as an independent employee-e, no one has the same kind of security. If ATTAQ offer solidarity and support in all types of industry, so you can get support, not just from the people who work in your own industry.

When and how has he started ?

Selena : The project started because I was working as a self-Worker, and at some point, to Montreal, we were more self-employed in the branch Artists [you IWW], so we decided to launch an organizing campaign in this industry. The reason why we decided to run a campaign on the scale of self-Artists worker was in the spirit of One Big Union of the IWW. But it's also because the self-employed, no matter their industry, have very similar struggles and can support each other through these struggles.

In February 2017, we began to meet for the first time as part of an organizing campaign. We just celebrated our two years.

Do you have an example of struggles you have done or ways in which you have backed-e-s each other ?

Hannah : I really want to talk about two cases. The first is a worker who is a member of Se ATTAQ for about eight months and working in the gaming industry. She was fired after raising concerns about the treatment of employee-s in a public forum. Ensuite, we filed a complaint for wrongful dismissal, and the worker could receive compensation and recognition of the wrongful dismissal by the employer.

The second case is a long term project on which we have worked for now 14 month. Basically, working on a project for a client, a worker suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder and was no longer able to work in its industry. We are working with a lawyer to get compensation for it. We met the employer in February and we are about to enter into a financial agreement, and we are very confident-e-s it will receive substantial compensation.

We also have workshops. Like this, we have people who share their basic skills. for example, Emily Wilson organized a translation workshop, which received huge support from people in the industry and people with different skills. There were people who were already in the industry, there were people who were just interested-e-s, ial and were able to get contacts, and also information on how to start and what tools to use. Then Emily spoke about the case you are not paid-e and how you can use the solidarity and direct action and then go to the office and have the money that you promised.

I think I have heard of cases where translators-ers were not paid-e-s and had direct action…

Selena : It was actually Emily. In the Montreal community, there are a limited number of people who Translation, and many people know. So there was a customer – This is an excellent example of support by direct action of the Artists-worker, even if it was not through the union, but because Emily was a member of the union. She had a client who did not pay, and she knew one of the other translators of the project, and when she spoke to him casually, and she said “This client does not yet paid me”, and the other person said “He did not pay me no more !” Ial and spoke with the third person on the project, and header-trice translator was not paid either-e. Ial so all three decided that the next time would be contacted qu'iels-e-s by this customer, none of elleux would accept the translation unless he first pay.

So, the same day, each elleux was contacted by customer-es, the customer asked to make a translation, ial toustes have given the same answer to the customer : “I will accept this translation if you pay me, but not before you pay me”, and the same day, or perhaps the next day, the three received their pay. It was 2 000 $ that the customer had to Emily – I do not know what amount of other translators and facilitators, but it was a substantial sum.

We are also launching a campaign “Pay your claims!” for self-employed.

What is a campaign “Pay your claims” ?

Hannah : One of the things we do, is to help people who have not been paid-e-s then qu'iels should have been. One of our main projects at the moment is to work with a journalist. We are currently negotiating with his former employer about lost wages and damages. And because it is progressing well, we want to open this campaign more widely to self-employed workers in Montreal, in order to help them get the money they are owed.

Selena : We will imitate what the IWW section of Montreal has done with great success. Every time someone contacts the branch to claim his salary, there is someone who takes the lead in this folder, who form a team of people, helping to coordinate meetings and actions.

I always suggest the campaign "Reclaim the pay" to all sections and new IWW organizing projects because it is a small project that has immediate results. It provides students with the skills needed for a long-term project of organization and it gives a boost of energy and the short-term morale. They generally successful, and help to build capacity for larger campaigns.

Hannah : Self-employed Artists do not have much backup ial will not get their final pay. While this can help build a self-employed Artists community, with a direct way to help us win.

Selena : This is something that we are launching to Se ATTAQ, and our plan is to display in different areas of the city, especially where the self-employed Artists tend to work, and create a team of people on our side who are ready-e-s to conduct campaigns "Reclaim your pay".

What tactics do you use to get unpaid wages ?

Selena : It can be of help to write emails, sending demand letters on behalf of the union, to accompany them to meet their client or employer, or any escalation of pressure tactics from there. To 'Reclaim your pay "in Montreal, people used the social media strategy, where people give bad reviews for a company, or there has been picketing and leafleting in front of these companies. And I think that in a recent campaign, ial won 800 $ by employee-s for 20 workers.

How often would you say Sometimes self-honest worker does not receive their final pay ?

Hannah : I always managed to be paid, but I have had of late payments which could reach 6 month.

Pauline : I had a client who did not pay for several months and I sent him several emails to remind him that he did not pay me, and I finally sent him an email telling him that I would table a complaint to the CNESST (Standards Commission, equity, health and work safety), the Quebec organization that handles complaints of workplace. And immediately after, I received my check.

Hannah : Good that, fun fact : the self-employed Artists are not eligible to file complaints with the CNESST.

Pauline : My contract should not have been considered self-employment contract. I showed it to a lawyer-e-e who told me : “This should not be classified as self-employment.”

Do you sometimes negotiate contracts on behalf of self-employed ?

Selena : Non. We had workshops on the drafting of contracts, on how to negotiate and the power you have when you sign a contract. On knowing your rights and how to take advantage of contracts in his favor.

One of our members, Alayna, is contractual lawyer, so that when people have questions about their contract, and a lot about intellectual property, ial can get advice Alayna, since it is part of his profession.

How many members do you have and how many members have you started ?

Selena : We have 25 members. We were 5 or 6 for about a year, then we are past-e-s at 12, then in the fall, we started to organize ourselves with Game Workers Unite, and that's where we really saw a peak membership. Est weary, on their own terms, “a movement and an international organization dedicated to basic organizing the gambling industry”. Ial work with toustes workers in the industry to defend their rights and improve working conditions. Although qu'iels are not elleux own syndicated-e-s, ial help coordinate education and relations with the unions for e-s-employed precarious middle of the game that could benefit.

What industries you cover ?

Hannah : We are currently focusing on three industries : the video game, translation and journalism. We recently contacted the student-e-s in Journalism from Concordia University, because ial did a good job and activism were striking about unpaid internships. But we also count among our members photographers, des Filip-and-s, artists, attorney-e-s, mixed media artists.

Do you have a strategy regarding the reclassification of workers as an employee-e-s, lorsqu'iels are classified-e-s falsely as self-employed Artists ?

Hannah : In fact, this issue there is much income compared to a game testing company videos in Montreal. They catégorisaient workers in the contractual-Class, but much of what was in their contract, and what was expected of elleux, it was that you could see for an e-employee. One tactic on which we would work was to re-categorize the.

Selena : This is a very big country, and it is long-term, so it's a work in progress. In our membership criteria, we are not saying that you should be considered-e as a worker or self-th worker to be a member. Just want to participate in the organization in the industry self-employment. One of the reasons we did that, is that there are many self-employed are classified Artists-e-s as such it-s by their employers, but rather in fact have the status of employee. And we did not want to lose their status qu'iels If ATTAQ ial is reached there. So, Hannah does not currently working as self-employed, but she is still getting organized with us.

Selena : We worked on a series of workshops “Know your rights”. We presented the first workshop 7 May. The next will take place on 17 July and will focus specifically on engagement with the gaming industry workers.

Hannah : It has mainly focused on the workers of the game, but we want to make a more expanded to the self-employed in general. It is to learn to recognize when they should be classified as self-employed-e-eur or as employee, then we know the rights, with these two statutes, with respect to vacation pay, the termination, trading at, etc.

In the next workshop, we will speak of the problems that happen more widely, but will also focus on the problems in a particular industry. One of the main concerns of the workers of the game are overtime, because it is an industry that uses culture and commitment to the company to do unpaid overtime. So, just to let people know what their recourse when that happens, to be paid-e-s properly.

So, part of what you try to do, this is to raise the industry level.

Hannah : Absolutely, because if everyone knows to demand to be paid for e-overtime, it can become the industry standard in Montreal.

Selena : Popular education is a radical act. And often, as a standalone Worker, we know nothing, and we do not know what we do not know. So what, it is operated e-without even knowing that one is. One goal of our workshops is to help self-employed Artists know their rights as workers, and then help them regain control over their work.

Hannah : Moreover, there have been a number of changes to the Quebec law in January 2019 and July 2018, so we make sure that people are aware of it. Things like, for example, Now you are entitled to paid sick leave, which was not part of labor law in Quebec before.

Selena : Or : you must receive your schedule five days in advance.

How often do you find that employers do not meet their obligations, or they do not even respect the paper, in the contract ?

Hannah : I think it happens very often. In the particular game industry, they give the schedule of their employee-s not even 24 hours in advance.

Selena : Toustes these workers are considered e-s-wrongly as independent-e-s, and the company then uses to exploit. “You are self-honest worker, that's why you do not have your schedule in advance !”

Pauline : You have to be available all the time.

Hannah : If you are new in the business, you will receive an SMS to 15h to tell you if you work the next day.

Pauline : 15h is generous.

Hannah : Sorry, 18h.

This makes no sense, because if they control your work, you're not really a self-employed.

Selena : This is the case where a lawyer looked at the contract for two seconds and said : "These are employee-s. "They are told what time must come ial, ial must go to a certain place, they are given the tools of the trade – these are the three basic requirements to determine if you are an employee or an e-worker or self-employed. Furthermore, we made a complaint to the CNESST about this employer and it was accepted. If these workers were actually self-employed, the CNESST do not take care of those complaints. So we have concrete evidence qu'iels are employee-s. But their misclassification is a tool that is used against elleux, to exploit. And unfortunately, many workers accept this misclassification because qu'iels know no more, like "Oh, it's great to be Worker autonomous ". It's not great to be self-employed if you are paid-e 13 $ /h.